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The Benefit of Emotions Awareness and Management at the Workplace

Emotional intelligence is a critical 21st -century skill, and as such, companies with emotionally intelligent executive teams have a competitive advantage. Today, everybody must not only master their own emotions and be aware of them, but also craft strategies to support emotions at work. Doing so ultimately creates a more productive, supportive and energizing work environment for all.

Emotions : What are they?

Emotions can be described as feelings that you may sense deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others. They are a normal and essential part of who we are as human beings. They give us information about the world around us and help us to navigate our social environment. However, emotions can also have a strong impact on our professional lives. they play an important role in our lives, affecting how we think, feel, and behave.

All emotions don’t have the same effect on ourselves some are impactful and some are non-productive.

There is a difference between expressing emotions versus being emotional. Some people think that strong negative emotions are linked to raised voices, slammed doors, eye-rolling and more. These are simply unskillful expressions of suppressed negative emotions - expressions that can cause harm to others.

Emotional Awareness

The spectrum of knowledge of emotions (of our own and others) is very limited. If I ask you to list emotions, you will probably come with the most common such as Joy, Happy, Angry, Mad, Sad and Stressed. This represents a very small spectrum of all the emotions we could feel. Even, in the very famous cartoon “Inside Out” of Walt Disney, only few emotions are highlighted :

  • Joy

  • Disgust

  • Fear

  • Sadness

  • Anger

These are the ones, we are the most trained to recognized and know. Even, with this very known emotions, we are still have trouble to deal with them and understand how we takes decisions, acts under them.

Let’s take some emotions such as angry, Irritated, stressed, nervous that are mostly non-productive emotions, but can you differentiate them in yourself? In others? In the same way, for more impactful emotions such as joy, happiness, Excited, we have the same confusion. What I want to demonstrate here is that we know very well the extremes emotions, but when it come to shades we have more difficulties with them. Not knowing what emotions we are really feeling could lead in extreme reactions and misalignment with the situation.

This is the reason we need to be more familiar with our emotions and understand what they are and how we acts under this emotions to be able to take control of ourselves and perform at our best.

This disconnection with our connection come from early in our childhood and from the society that want us to fit the mold. We feel uncomfortable with our emotions and are told to not express them or even deny them. They may show us as weak. Our education and the modern world valued employees who behaved like robots, providing & focusing on results. Leading people to differentiate their work from the personal life and block their personality when going to work to fit in the mold. You create a persona that is theoretically not vulnerable, but alien yourself by doing so not being able to express your best at work.

We are emotional creatures, and it is natural for our emotions to come out in the workplace. Not exploring our emotion affects our decisions and actions is more dangerous that expressing them.

Why Emotions Matter & How Do Emotions Affect the Workplace

It can be easy to brush off emotions in the workplace, but ignoring them can have direct consequences. It's no secret that emotions play a role in the workplace. When people are stressed, upset, or angry, it can affect their work performance and interactions with others. It's important to be aware of these emotions and how to deal with them. By understanding and acknowledging the role emotions occupied in the workplace, you can create a positive environment for your team and help them to excel.

Emotions take a role in every aspect of our lives, including the workplace. In fact, emotions can have a powerful impact on organizational behavior and communication.

If you encourage your team to bring their emotions to work, you will increase the team engagement and bring the best of your team members by making them feel themselves and able to express all their creativity. Doing so will do more than increase productivity; you’ll create a workplace that employees feel supported in, allowing you to recruit new employees more competitively. On the other hand, negative emotions like anger and anxiety can lead to conflict and miscommunication.

In some cases, emotions can even lead to organizational change. For example, if employees are feeling stressed or overworked, they may be more likely to speak up or take action. While emotions are an important part of the workplace, it is important to remember that they can also be a source of conflict. When communicating with others, it is important to be aware of your own emotions and how they might be affecting your ability to communicate effectively.

A positive mood has been linked with increased productivity, while a negative mood can lead to errors and accidents. Research suggests that we are more likely to make decisions based on emotion than on reason, which means that managing emotions in the workplace is essential for making sound decisions.

When we are aware of our emotions and can regulate them effectively, we are more likely to make positive choices that benefit both ourselves and our organizations.

The emotional culture in a workplace can help with predicting workplace outcomes. Here are some fundamental ways that emotions at work affect an organization:

  • A pleasant work environment attracts top talent - As well as bringing in the best people, an atmosphere of fun and support between co-workers fuels higher retainment levels and commitment to the company.

  • Excess of good thing – Too much of fun or camaraderie can get in the way of trust, professionalism and critical thinking and lead to lower productivity.

  • Too much stress affects brain power - Stress is shown to cause issues with memory, attention, impulse control, and mental flexibility. For this reason, workplaces that are excessively disciplinary or have a disregard for fostering a positive emotional culture, can end up with less productive employees.

  • Emotional exhaustion leads to burnout - Burnout is thought to come from low morale at work over a prolonged period of time. This can be because of any number of workplace issues such as feeling undervalued at work, a lack of influence, or a lack of camaraderie between team members.

  • Positive emotions lead to innovation - When workers feel safe to express themselves and are encouraged to take risks, they are more likely to come up with new ideas. And when those ideas are met with support and enthusiasm, they are more likely to be developed into successful products or services.

Positive Emotions

Positive emotions are common in a healthy and productive workplace:

  • Feeling valued - This involves feeling that our positive traits have been recognized and responded to appreciatively.

  • Happiness - This involves an overall sense of contentment and meaning experienced within a job role.

  • Camaraderie - In the workplace, camaraderie is a feeling of trust, collaboration, and friendship between colleagues.

  • Excitement - A feeling of mental stimulation and heightened joy in relation to the company's goals or the person's individual role.

  • Engagement - A heightened sense of focus and connection to a task or process within a job role. It can also include engagement with the company's ethos or team members.

  • Belonging - This involves a feeling of being "in the right place", and feeling connected with a role or team.

  • Confidence - A sense of personal empowerment and courage within a role. An ability to put forward unique ideas without feeling shy or otherwise inhibited.

  • Pride - This is a great feeling about a person's own role in a company as well as their contributions or skills.

  • Flow - A profound sense of absorption in an activity that completely engages a person's brain so they feel at one with the task.

Non-Productive Emotions

However, emotions can also have a negative impact on the workplace. Emotions can lead to problems such as job dissatisfaction, absenteeism, and even accidents.

One of the main ways in which emotions can negatively affect the workplace is through what is known as "deep acting." This occurs when employees try to suppress their true emotions in order to conform to the demands of their job.

For example, a customer service representative might force a smile even if they are feeling angry or frustrated. Over time, this can lead to increased stress and job burnout. Additionally, deep acting can also lead to poorer performance as employees struggle to maintain the facade of positive emotion.

Ultimately, it is important to create a work environment that allows employees to express their emotions in a healthy and productive way.

Some negative emotions at work are inevitable, or even at times helpful. However, extensive amounts of these emotions can drain the psychological health of a team.

The most common negative emotions in the workplace are:

  • Burnout - This is extreme emotional fatigue that is the result of chronic stress within a job.

  • Stress - In short bursts, stress is a fear response that can activate our brains so we become more alert and engaged with a task. In the long-term, or in highly difficult situations, stress can have a negative impact on our minds and bodies alike.

  • Aggression - This is defined as ‘any incident in which employees and other people are abused, threatened or assaulted at work’. This includes verbal abuse and passive-aggression.

  • Pessimism - A negative outlook on the future of the company, the work itself, or the social dynamics within the team. A tendency to focus on negative information and form opinions based on that.

  • Anxiety - This negative emotion causes a person to feel unsafe either emotionally or physically. Anxiety at work can be about retaining employment, meeting demands, social aspects of the workplace, or even the tasks themselves.

  • Depression - Work-related depression is often triggered by an accumulation of stress that seems unsurpassable. It can cause feelings of hopelessness or apathy within the job.

  • Anger - This is another response to stress at work that involves a more expulsive and sometimes destructive approach. Workplace anger can result from irritation, outrage, or feelings of injustice.

  • Isolation - This often affects remote workers but can affect those within an office environment too. Isolation is the lack of needed social contact and connection. It can occur within a team if one person feels undervalued or ignored.

Of course, there is such a thing as too much emotion. If we are constantly emotional in the workplace, it can be disruptive and distracting. We might also come across as unstable or unreliable. So it is important to find a balance. Showing some emotion in the workplace can be a good thing, but we need to make sure that we don't let our emotions take over.

Our emotions have a great impact on our workplace. Impactful emotions such as joy and hope can improve our productivity and help us to build positive relationships with our colleagues. On the other hand, Non-productive emotions like anxiety and anger can lead to conflict and make it difficult to focus on the task at hand.

Emotional labor is the term used to describe the efforts we put into managing our emotions in the workplace. This can be positive emotional labor, like trying to remain positive in the face of adversity, or negative emotional labor, like putting on a brave face when you're feeling overwhelmed. Either way, it's important to be aware of how your emotions are affecting your work life.

How Do Emotions Influence Employee Motivation?

They have a critical role in employee motivation. Impactful emotions can lead to positive feelings, such as happiness, pride, and enthusiasm, which in turn can lead to greater job satisfaction and productivity. On the other hand, non-productive emotions can cause employees to feel stressed, anxious, and resentful, which can lead to decreased motivation and performance.

Therefore, it is essential to create an emotionally positive work environment where employees feel valued and supported. When employees feel positive emotions at work, they are more likely to be motivated to do their best.

Positive emotions also are closely tied to better interpersonal relationships. Of course, good relationships are a source of many positive emotional experiences, but many studies have also shown that positive emotions improve social interactions.

We know that happy people are more approachable, are liked more and get along better with others than unhappy people. And studies have clearly shown that employees' emotional experiences have an impact on interactions with clients, customers and co-workers.

There also is solid evidence that positive emotions influence important work-related processes, like creativity. In laboratory studies, people made to briefly experience positive emotions (such as watching video clips) were able to solve problems more creatively and see the big picture more easily using well-validated cognitive tasks.

They have found strong links between positive emotions experienced during the workday and creativity on the job.

Most importantly, their research suggests that positive emotions precede creative thoughts on the job with incubation effects of up to two days (in addition, being creative leads people to later feel more positive emotion). Another likely benefit of positive emotions is increased creativity and innovation in job performance. ‍

Finally, positive emotions are an important predictor of how people they feel and think about their jobs and their companies.

Emotions that are more positive had higher job satisfaction and greater commitment to their organizations.

Not surprisingly, negative emotions predicted the reverse pattern of findings. And although positive and negative emotions are moderately correlated with one another.

How Do Emotions in the Workplace Influence Conflict?

Emotions are a natural and often automatic response to any given situation. In the workplace, emotions can be triggered by a variety of things, from a difficult client interaction to a tight deadline. When left unchecked, these emotions can lead to conflict.

For example, someone who is feeling angry may lash out at a coworker, while someone who is feeling anxious may have trouble communicating effectively.

On the other hand, positive emotions can also lead to conflict, such as when two people feel strongly about the same idea and compete for credit.

Ultimately, emotions have a significant role in shaping the way we interact with others, and they can either contribute to or help resolve conflict. With this in mind, it’s important to be aware of our emotions and how they might be affecting our work relationships.

How Can Emotions and Moods Affect Decision Making in the Workplace?

Emotions and moods can have a significant impact on decision making in the workplace. When employees are feeling positive, they are more likely to take risks and be innovative. However, when employees are feeling negative, they are more likely to play it safe and stick to established procedures.

Emotional intelligence can help to create a positive emotional culture in the workplace. By promoting emotional awareness and encouraging employees to express their feelings, managers can create a positive emotional culture where employees feel comfortable making decisions. In addition, emotional intelligence can help managers to identify when employees are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, and provide support to prevent them from making poor decisions.

What Can Managers Do to Manage Employees' Emotions?

Managers play an important role in setting the emotional tone of the workplace. Employees often look to their managers for cues on how to react to and deal with difficult situations. As such, it is important for managers to be aware of the emotional labor that their employees are engaged in.

Emotional labor can be defined as "the effort, planning, and control needed to regulate emotions in order to appear emotionally appropriate". It is an essential part of many jobs, but can also be emotionally draining.

Managers can help to ease the emotional load by being mindful of the emotional culture of the workplace. They can create opportunities for employees to openly discuss their emotional experiences and provide support when needed. If they conceptualize emotional labor and take steps to manage emotional culture, managers will better support their employees' emotional well-being.

This few steps could help you to improve the emotional intelligence at your workplace :

1. Allow for mistakes.

No one is perfect. Mistakes are inevitable and are needed to allow the person to grow in their uncomforted zone. Not allowing mistakes will lead the employee to stay in his comfort zone and never be productive and creative. Berating or punishing employees can cause humiliation and hostility.

Calmly correcting or excusing the rare mistake is a great way to build trust. If mistakes continue to pile up, you should schedule time with your employees to create a performance improvement plan. This plan will help make sure both parties are on the same page and set clear expectations for success.

2. Build a culture of trust.

Sharing emotions, especially uncomfortable ones, is one way to show vulnerability. But we can’t be vulnerable if we don’t trust the people that we’re sharing our stories with. Everyone in your organization should feel comfortable being themselves and expressing their emotions.

It’s not enough just to let employees know they can share their feelings—you must be willing to be the example too. When employees can witness a culture of honesty and compassion, they’ll be able to understand and adapt to others’ emotions.

3. Be present.

Make time to connect with your team to instill confidence in your employees, their work, and their performance. Empowering your team members to stay connected in this way helps build positive relationships.

Set uninterrupted time apart for each employee at least once a month. These meetings offer employees an opportunity to ask questions, provide updates, raise concerns, and provide feedback. These are perfect times to celebrate successes to increase positive emotions in the workplace.

4. Listen more than you talk.

Most times, employees who experience negative emotions aren’t searching for solutions. They want to express themselves and release their pent-up emotions. Listening to your employees allows them to get it all out there and makes them feel cared for and heard. It also establishes you as a trusted resource who can be depended on.

When dealing with someone else's emotions, strive to understand what they are feeling and why. Ask them how they are feeling and if they are okay. If they don't want to talk or say everything is fine, respect their wishes and don't pressure them any further. If they do want to talk it out, find a quiet space and listen.


Regardless of how well you handle your own emotions, you can’t control the emotions of others. But it is important to learn how to acknowledge them and respond appropriately. Unresolved issues can lead to decreased productivity, damaged relationships, and lowered engagement.

Your employees are only human, and humans are emotional creatures. Addressing emotions is important for recognizing your employees for who they are and improving your emotional culture.

In contrast, expressing emotions begins with getting in touch with how we feel. It’s important to take responsibility for how we express those emotions and how those expressions impact those around us.

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to be aware of and manage one's own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. It involves self-awareness, empathy, and self-regulation. Unlike conventional intelligence, which focuses on cognitive skills, EI entails understanding and managing feelings.

In the workplace, emotional intelligence can be a valuable asset in managing relationships, handling difficult conversations, and resolving conflict. Those who are emotionally intelligent are able to create a more positive and productive work environment.


Aurelien MANGANOPurposeful Career Coach - DevelUpLeaders

Next Steps :

Evaluate your Emotional Intelligence (EQ-i) & Develop it with coaching


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