Most of us are emotionally invested in our jobs, and for good reason. Professional success impacts our well-being, happiness, and sense of purpose. However, expressing emotions at work can sometimes open up the floor to different interpretations, especially if your work environment doesn’t encourage vulnerability.
Questions about emotion that may come up include:
For me, I think we can sometimes become so focused on holding it all in — masking our natural responses — that we forget the ways expressing emotion can help us build trust, strengthen relationships across the board, inspire focus, and learn from failure.
Perhaps the answer is not to show all your cards (i.e., every emotion you experience at work), but to communicate authentically. If you can be authentic and compassionate, you can be more honest and genuine while considering yourself and others. The key is to allow the emotion but not be controlled by it. Suppressing or repressing doesn’t work!
Leaders should define the right balance for them and then strive toward it with intention.
Ask yourself, how can I…
Understand what I’m feeling and process it in a way that creates space?
Understand what others need?
Express myself openly so others can relate?
Here are four tips:
Learning to strike a balance between emotional regulation and authentic expression can make you a more formidable leader. So, next time a strong emotion arises at work and your knee-jerk reaction is to turn it off, don’t! Instead, be intentional and authentic. Your ability to inspire loyalty often comes from expressing honest emotion.