Building a healthy emotional culture in the workplace

We recently came across a great article written by Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy and thought we’d share with you a brief overview of the full article in this blog post.

Most of us have gotten used to the idea that mixing our emotions with work is somehow unprofessional but that just isn’t the case. In fact, when you begin to listen to, understand and express and learn from your emotions, you are more likely to experience a richer, more satisfying and productive work life.

So why should we look to build a healthier emotional culture in the workplace? In a nutshell, happy, fulfilled staff perform better – happier clients, improved morale, higher profits – it has also been proven that businesses that discourage compassion and gratitude have a higher staff turnover rate.

Show your human side

Employees perform to higher standards and act kindlier to colleagues if they feel a personal connection with their leader. As a leader it is important to express your feelings but be careful not to over share!  If you do share fears and stresses always ensure that you match this with a plan to tackle the issues. Your employees look to you for reassurance.

The main emotion to reign in is anger – it is a negative emotion with no benefit.  The University of Amsterdam carried out a study in 2015 showing that employees having to deal with an angry manager shower less willingness to work. Conversely, when managers controlled their words and body language at tense moments, their employee’s stress levels were reduced by over 30%.

Keeping up the motivation

In order for your team to feel (and stay) motivated they need to feel a sense of purpose; to know the vision of the business they work for and what part they play in this.

It is also important to empower your team.  Instead of dictating process, set clear desired outcomes to enable your staff a sense of control over how they do something.

Value difference

Yes, having a workplace culture and overarching ethos ensures that clear boundaries are placed, however be careful not to become too narrow-minded and stuck in a particular mindset.

Teams perform better if they’re tolerant and welcoming of different perspectives. You want to create a work culture where everyone feels safe to express their ideas and opinions.

Embrace relevant emotions, ignore irrelevant ones

We could all benefit from making a concerted effort to be more positive in our outlook and approach.  Positivity really does breed positivity. Check-in with how you are communicating – for instance, proof read your emails to check for any possible misunderstandings or interpretations – without realising we can often load our message with lots of emotion and negativity!

Finally, learn to trust your gut. Gut feelings are your brain’s quick way of processing your collective experiences and knowledge.  That’s not to say you should always act on them but you should consider them as our emotions can be an important source of information.