Managing Emotions in the Workplace
by Claudia St. John
Claudia St. John, SPHR, is president of Affinity HR Group, a national management consulting firm providing human resources, recruiting, compensation and training support to small- and mid-sized companies. Affinity HR Group is a one-stop shop for all of your challenging “people issues".
Some time ago, we were contacted by a client who was having a significant challenge within the organization. The company was experiencing significant growth and was promoting managers and supervisors who were not trained to handle the stress and challenges of managing others. Even senior managers were struggling with the stress of rapid growth. After doing a little investigation, we discovered the main culprit poorly developed emotional intelligence among middle and senior management.
Emotional intelligence, often called EQ, is the ability to recognize, understand and use the power of emotions to facilitate high levels of collaboration and productivity. In essence, it is the ability to effectively manage one's own emotions.
When emotional intelligence is low, managers find themselves diverting time and energy to dealing with emotion-driven conflict among team members. And in some instances it is the manager's own emotions that sabotage performance. An organization suffers the greatest productivity loss when a manager's low EQ behavior impacts others within the organization. If managers are unable to manage their own emotions, their negative behavior can sap the energy of staff.
The emotions with the most potential to cause negative repercussions in the workplace are anger and fear, which can temporarily impair the brain's ability to think rationally. The brain is wired to be on alert status from a threat of any kind, whether real or imagined. Anger and fear activate the brain's fight, flight or freeze response, as the part of the brain that generates emotion floods the area in charge of executive functions with hormones.
Affinity HR Group offers a free HR Minute every Monday with quick tips on how your organization can strengthen its human resources practices. To have it delivered to your inbox, sign up at www.AffinityHRGroup.com or call the firm at 877-660-6400.
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