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Friday
Mar092012

« 2. Do emotions matter at work? »

Written by Rachel Green. Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute, accredited MSCEIT consultant.

Do emotions matter at work?

I am passionate about emotions and get fed-up when people try to shove them under the carpet and pretend they don't matter. They do! They are possibly more important than you have ever imagined. In fact, emotional Intelligence is all about emotions. And about being smart with all emotions.

Understanding the role that emotions play at work, both negative and positive, is therefore fundamental to understanding emotional intelligence and the crucial influence it has at work.

People problems cause chaos at work. People problems cause havoc in relationships. All people problems are driven by emotions. Thus, all people problems are influenced by theh emotional intelligence of the people involved.

Whenever I ask managers or executives about the kinds of problems they have to face at work, and which ones are the hardest to deal with, the answer is nearly always the same:

"The technical problems can be solved, but the people problems are the hardest to deal with". 

Supervisors, managers and executives are responsible for managing the behaviour of people.

They therefore need to know what drives the behaviour of their people. If they don't know that how can they manage people's behaviour effectively?

Want to do the MSCEIT to measure your emotional intelligence? It is the gold-standard ability mesaure. To find out how to take the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso-Emotional-Intelligence-Test and gain feedback on the results from our Director, emotional intelligence specialist, Rachel Green, click here

What drives people's behaviour? 

Emotions. Emotions drive behaviour. Thoughts, beliefs and knowledge are also involved but it is the emotional reactions surrounding the thoughts, beliefs and knowledge that have the most power.

For example, I may know that the CEO wants me to implement a specific change process with my team and to convince the team that it is a great idea and for everyone's benefit.

However, I think that the CEO has made a mistake, and I feel embarrassed about asking the team to change again as they are still exhausted from the last change. I also resent the fact that the CEO hasn't got the guts to tell the team himself and feel exasperated that he's dumped it on me.

What will happen? I know what needs to be done but I am both embarrassed, exasperated and resentful, and I am concerned that the team is exhausted.

Am I more likely to win the team over so they are enthusiastic about implementing the changes, or to undermine the success of the change process and to whip up a storm of resentment against the CEO?

I suspect the latter, don't you?

Emotions drive my behaviour and your behaviour. Emotions drive the behaviour of everyone you come into contact with at work. That's why being emotionally intelligent and smart about emotions is vitally important.

Emotions are a causative agent in all people problems.

If you as a supervisor, manager or leader do not understand the emotional responses that may arise in your people and know how to manage them productively, how will you be able to implement a change programme smoothly? 

If you as a supervisor, manager or leader do not understand the emotional drivers of your people's behaviour then you may cause the very people problems you find hard to deal with. Or you may unwittingly escalate people problems or fail to overcome them when they do arise.

This is why, if you are a supervisor, manager, executive, CEO or business owner you must know about emotions and how to handle them effectively.

Click here to find out how to take the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso-Emotional-Intelligence-Test (MSCEIT) and gain feedback on the results from our Director, emotional intelligence specialist, Rachel Green.

Do emotions matter at work?

Yes. Emotions influence our behaviour, our memory, our thoughts, our ability to focus, our productivity, our problem solving, our decision-making, our ability to engage other people, and our relationships at work.

Imagine that you are in negotiations with two key stakeholders over a multi-million dollar project, and they feel apathetic towards you and your project. Will their apathy matter? Yes of course, it makes logical sense that it would. "Apathy" is an emotion.

How capable you are of detecting it, accurately identifying it, responding to it and shifting it, depends on your level of emotional intelligence. You ignore the apathy at your peril.

To find out more about the value of emotions at work watch our video.

Emotions are complex and complicated

Emotions at work are complex, complicated and numerous. I have seen a list of over 3000 emotion words in the English language, all of them subtly different and powerfully influential but in different ways. Emotional intelligence doesn't just concern itself with 4 or 5 emotions but with all emotions.

Your ability to identify accurately the emotions that arise in yourself and others at work is fundamental in your ability to successfully form effective partnerships, to lead teams and to minimise conflict.

  • Emotions vary in type, strength, breadth and depth. They include a range of feelings from feeling powerlessness, disgust, resentment, sad, frightened, at a loss, worried and disinterested, through to pleased, delighted, proud, valued, inspired, trusted, determined, and ecstatic. Which ones do you want in your workforce?
  • Emotions in their entirety are very important. They can undermine workplace situations or enhance them. They can destroy productivity or increase it. They can facilitate innovation or lead to stagnation.
  • Emotions can also provide us with valuable information at work. The extent to which we benefit from this information depends on our emotional intelligence.

Want to do the MSCEIT to measure your emotional intelligence? It is the gold-standard ability mesaure. To find out how to take the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso-Emotional-Intelligence-Test and gain feedback on the results from our Director, emotional intelligence specialist, Rachel Green, click here

Anxiety as an emotion at work

For example, if you are about to hand in an important report to senior management or the Board and you feel a twinge of anxiety, what do you do?

If you have significant levels of emotional intelligence you may pause and realise the anxiety is important and is warning you to be careful. You re-check the report and find an error. You correct it and hand in a perfect report. 

In this instance, the anxious feeling, when you acted on it with emotional intelligence, was valuable to you. It enhanced your accuracy and kept your professional standing intact. 

In contrast, if you had lower levels of emotional intelligence, you may not have noticed the anxiety, or ignored it or pushed it to one side thinking that it was a nuisance. You thus do not re-look at the report, and hand in a dud one. Your career is affected as a consequence.

How we relate to our emotions, and the extent to which we benefit from them, depends on our emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence does not ignore emotions, or aim to "keep them under control" at work. Rather emotional intelligence involves acknowledging the importance of emotions and relating to them in a smart and productive way.

In other words a key aspect of emotional intelligence is being intelligent with your own emotions. Another aspect is being intelligent with the emotions of others. How intelligent are you with your emotions?

Want to do the MSCEIT to measure your emotional intelligence? It is the gold-standard ability mesaure. To find out how to take the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso-Emotional-Intelligence-Test and gain feedback on the results from our Director, emotional intelligence specialist, Rachel Green, click here

How well do you manage the emotions of others?

How you respond to emotions depends on your level of emotional intelligence or emotional quotient. Do you acknowledge the importance of emotions in your work, cultivate beneficial ones, and respond to them all productively? If you do, you are likely to be able to build trust with others and influence their behaviour. 

Or do you trivialise their importance, get stuck in negative ones and belittle other people when they show their emotions? In which case you may not be trusted by people or be able to influence them easily. Staff that you are responsible for may also leave. 

There are many different dimensions of emotional intelligence and EQ, and I explore and explain the relevance of these at work in further articles and videos. All you need to know at this point is that emotions are the essence of emotional intelligence - and emotions matter at work.

Have your emotional intelligence assessed now.

Want to know how high your emotional intelligence is? We can assess it for you on the test by Salovey and Mayer, which is an ability-based emotional intelligence test called the MSCEIT and you can complete it online.

Click here to find out how to take the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso-Emotional-Intelligence-Test (MSCEIT) and gain feedback on the results from our Director, emotional intelligence specialist, Rachel Green.

Develop your emotional intelligence now

We have many resources plus coaching packages to help you. Click here for the 5 star emotional intelligence coaching package, or 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 and lead a happier, more productive life and improve your work relationships, whether with colleagues, stakeholders or customers.