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« 5. What's the emotional climate of your organisation? »

Written by Rachel Green. Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute. Author of "How to develop emotional resilience and manage your emotions".

What is the emotional climate of your organisation?

Does anyone care enough to develop positive emotions in the staff? Do the leaders, managers and supervisors have the emotional intelligence skills required to manage the emotions of employees, if they wanted to? Are there clear guidelines delineating how emotions are managed?

Possibly not.

Many people are appointed to management and leadership positions because of their technical skills and then find themselves needing to lead, inspire and instruct people. In order to do this effectively they need to manage the emotional climate. Why?

  • Because all people have emotions,
  • Because people's emotions are influenced by the context in which they work,
  • Because emotions drive behaviour, and 
  • Because behaviour drives productivity.

It is essential for workplace morale, employee engagement and productivity that the emotions of staff be acknowledged, fostered and managed with high levels of emotional intelligence. If the emotional tone of a workplace or team is not right, or managers don't provide a supportive and safe emotional environment, employees leave. It can be as simple as that. And who wants high staff turn over?

Want to improve your skills as an emotionally intelligent leader so you create a healthy emotional climate in your organisation? Then book into our smart leadership coaching package.

Four ways to develop a healthy emotional climate

There are many emotional intelligence competencies, however, two are particularly relevant here:

  1. Emotional awareness of others - The skill of perceiving and understanding others' emotions; and
  2. Emotional management of others - The skill of influencing the moods and emotions of others.

How can you influence the emotions of others, including the staff you lead, and provide a healthy emotional climate in your organisation?

Emotional intelligence tip 1: Role Model.

If you are a leader, manager or supervisor you are a role model for your employees. They get their clues from you as to what is and is not allowable emotionally. You need to role model emotionally intelligent behaviours at work if you expect your staff to behave in an emotionally intelligent way.

(By the way, the same applies at home; if you want your children to develop emotionally intelligent behaviours then you may need to role model them. They learn by watching you.)

If you role model high levels of emotional intelligence you will have a healthy impact in the emotional climate in your organisation.

If your emotional intelligence only reflects an average or low emotional intelligence you can expect the emotional climate in your organisation to be less healthy. Your executives, managers and staff are watching you.

Want to improve your skills as an emotionally intelligent leader? Then book into our smart leadership coaching package.

Emotional intelligence tip 2: Ask.

Ask people how they feel. Then listen fully to the answers without giving solutions, becoming defensive or dismissing the emotions.

Also, if people come to you and mention their emotions do not dismiss them or ridicule people for having them. Be able to acknowledge and accept that whatever emotions they have they are valid for the person who has them. This is the high level of emotional intelligence expected of a leader.

Employees regularly tell me of negative reactions they have received from their managers and executives when they have told them how they feel about situations at work. They also say how off-putting this is.

Am I exaggerating when I say someone could be ridiculed at work for their emotions? No, I am not. Only a few weeks ago an employee told me she had gone to her manager about serious difficulties at work, not of her making, and was told, "There is no point in having those emotions".

What help was that? None. She was already having them. You can't just wish emotions away.

Other unhelpful comments heard in the workplace may include:

  • "Toughen up princess",
  • "Build a bridge and get over it",
  • "You are too sensitive", 
  • "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen",
  • "Suck it up".

None of these reflect a high emotional intelligence nor foster a healthy emotional climate in an organisation.

Emotional intelligence tip 3: Foster "positive" emotions.

There are certain emotions that can help people be productive and engaged at work. Foster these in your organisation and the emotional climate will be more conducive to employee engagement and high productivity, creativity and innovation.

Some of the emotions that can be of value at work include feeling:

  • excited,
  • passionate,
  • keen,
  • determined,
  • proud,
  • appreciated,
  • heard,
  • valued and
  • confident.

There are plenty more but this is a good start!

When everyone in the organisation fosters these emotions, whether it be the HR team, the leadership team or the supervisors, the organisation is more likely to have high levels of employee engagement. This in turn can translate into high motivation towards achieving the corporate vision.

Book into our smart leadership coaching package and improve your skills as an emotionally intelligent leader.

Emotional intelligence 4: Openly discuss "negative" emotions.

There are many emotions that can have a detrimental impact on employee engagement, productivity and the organisational climate, especially if these are "swept under the carpet" and allowed to fester.

For example, your employees may not be as productive, co-operative or engaged if they feel:

  • undervalued
  • bored
  • indifferent
  • ignored
  • stifled
  • complacent
  • unappreciated
  • anxious
  • insecure
  • over-controlled, or
  • shafted.

If when you ask your employees or senior management team about their feelings and they list an emotion such as one of the above, don't stop there, keep talking. Find out what is causing the feeling, and ask people how they could feel better.

For example, if they say they feel "anxious", ask them: "What would help you to feel settled?" Then listen to the answer and if possible implement the solutions.

A healthy emotional climate in an organisation doesn't mean that everyone is "happy clappy" or "warm, fuzzy and fluffy", it means that both "positive" emotions and "negative" emotions are acknowledged, allowed and managed with high levels of emotional intelligence.

What is the emotional climate in your organisation?

How high is your emotional intelligence?

Be a high EI leader and develop your emotional intelligence now.

Want to improve your skills as an emotionally intelligent leader so you create a healthy emotional climate in your organisation? Then book into our smart leadership coaching package.

For more details or to make a booking e-mail us now or pick up the phone and call us.

Develop your emotional intelligence now.