In the last blog post, we talked about the importance of teaching children how to recognise and manage their feelings, because research has shown what a positive impact this skill can have on the rest of their lives. In this second part of our three part series, we’ll explore how important feelings can be in the workplace, and the impact they can have when things go right – and when they go wrong.
Isn’t it unprofessional to bring feelings into the workplace?
This was a widely-held attitude in many cultures, for many years. Feelings were regarded as things that can mess up logical thinking, and that they are to be mastered, and disregarded. Business life is separate from personal life – and it’s no place for feelings. Couple that with corporate culture – which means that individuals are expected to conform to the organisation – and so many things go unsaid, because people feel unable to say them; issues and problems go unresolved; and golden opportunities for innovation and independent thought are completely lost.
Then there’s the impact of major change, and unexpected issues and events, big or small. All of these things can cause disruption not just to working practices – but they can also disrupt how confident and comfortable we feel in doing a good job. Uncertainty and fear creep in, productivity is lost, and health can begin to suffer. That’s why it is so important to deal with feelings as part of managing change, and to take account of them when dealing with issues that arise.
Should we be talking about feelings in the workplace, in that case?
Definitely! Everything we do is governed by our feelings, whether we realise it or not – and it’s completely natural that the place in which we spend so much of our lives, will trigger many feelings with us all day long, good and bad.
Your feelings can affect how you do your job, how you respond to those around you, and the decisions you take on a daily – or even hourly – basis. So being able to manage them, and help others to manage theirs, is a great asset to have; and having the openness to talk about your feelings, and let others talk about theirs, also plays a massive part in the smooth running of an organisation.
What’s the impact of NOT dealing with feelings?
This is where this quotation is worth recognising. It really shows how we can be forced into conforming to standards of behaviour that are, in fact, going against our very nature. Speaking out or expressing how you feel, in this environment, can lead to being immediately shut down; which will mean people don’t feel safe to speak out again. This in turn can make them feel unappreciated, underused, unfulfilled, and unhappy; and who wants to stay in a job where they feel that way? And so staff attrition rates increase, knowledge and ideas are lost, and recruitment for those important roles has to start all over again.
In the workplace just as in our personal lives, it’s so important to recognise how you’re feeling, communicate it appropriately, and deal with unresolved issues. It’s the key to healthy, happy and productive relationships at home – and the workplace is no different.
In the final part of the series, we’ll look at practical tips for dealing with feelings in the workplace – yours, and those of others.