How Should You Handle Emotions in the Workplace?October 3, 2019 | Posted by Jeff Seeley in Leadership Development, Relationship Building
What are your thoughts on the role of emotions in the workplace? If you’re like most people, you probably think that while you’re at work, you need to keep your emotions hidden. Work is complicated enough to begin with, so why add to the complication by bringing emotion into the picture, right? Wrong. We are actually doing ourselves, and our teams, a disservice by keeping our emotions bottled up at work.
Learn to Manage Emotions… Don’t Ignore Them
Feeling emotion is part of our natural human condition. By ignoring our feelings in an attempt to keep our emotions on the “down-low,” we are preventing ourselves from doing anything productive with the emotions we are feeling. Imagine yourself being angry when your direct report shows up late to your scheduled weekly meeting…again. Although you feel angry regarding his/her disrespect for your time, you decide to keep quiet because you don’t want to “start anything.” But this “do nothing” response to your anger prevents you from having a productive conversation with your direct report that could solve the problem.
If you were to discuss with your direct report that you are upset, and even a bit angry, over the fact that he’s been late to the past several meetings, maybe you’d discover that he started working on a new project with a coworker and their weekly progress meeting takes place right before yours. Being flexible and pushing your meeting start time back 15 minutes could solve the problem. You would never have come to this productive solution if you kept your feelings hidden.
So How Does All of This Apply to Leaders?
This concept is especially important to sales leaders since a career in sales can be particularly stressful. Your sales team members are under constant pressure. They work hard day in and day out to build and maintain relationships with customers with the goal of winning that customer’s business. But despite their hard work, at some point, the inevitable will happen and they will be rejected by a customer. Everyone in sales knows what this feels like–it’s painful and deflating. Now imagine having to keep that all to yourself!
In a work culture where the norm is to keep your emotions hidden, sales reps suffering with a customer rejection or any other source of job-related stress will feel like they have to cope with the stress by themselves. But by directing their feelings inward, they are likely doing themselves more harm than good. As mentioned above, nothing productive can come from an unexpressed feeling.
This is why, as sales leaders, we should encourage the sharing of emotions on our sales teams. By encouraging our sales teams to talk about any stress they may be feeling, we can help them discover a productive solution for not only dealing with that emotion, but also addressing its root cause. And what’s the best way to encourage the sharing of emotions on your team? By demonstrating it yourself! The next time you find yourself ignoring your feelings, make a point to acknowledge them instead and let this lead to a productive, appropriate conversation. Not only will you be helping yourself, but by seeing that you are receptive to the expression of emotions, your team will also be more likely to talk to you when they are feeling stressed. And we all know that less stress leads to higher performance!
If you are looking to increase the performance of your sales team, one place to start might be by taking a hard look at the work culture you are creating. Are you creating a culture that promotes the stifling of emotions? If so, encourage the sharing of emotions instead and watch as your team becomes happier and more productive!
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