Managing negative emotions within your teams

N°316a – Synopsis (8 p.) – Manager-coach
Managing negative emotions within your teams
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Negative emotions are often considered undesirable. And yet, they bear very useful information. How can we better manage these perturbing reactions?

The sources of negative emotions are legion in the corporate world. Fear or anger at the announcement of a reorganization, sadness following the abandonment of a project, annoyance provoked by a provider’s mistake or a colleague’s hurtful comment, frustration due to an idea cast aside during a meeting… All of these emotions can be present as a backdrop and can influence our relationships, our state of mind, and our effectiveness at work.

Yet emotions are a delicate domain, often taboo in the professional world. In continuity with Cartesian thinking, we generally consider that a good professional should be a rational being, in complete control. Even though it is nowadays accepted that emotions and reason feed one another, this conception remains most enduring. Displaying negative emotions, in particular, is generally perceived as a sign of weakness or impulsiveness. According to the gender, age and hierarchical position of the relevant person, the rendered judgment will be more or less severe. A young woman will for instance be given greater leeway to show her sadness—and lesser to show her anger—than a middle-aged man in a leadership position.

Unfortunately, by censoring the expression of emotion, we often forbid ourselves from recognizing its existence and understanding its significance. And yet, every emotion has its utility: it is there to put us in motion; it translates a need. An emotion we ignore is not an emotion that disappears; it is simply an emotion that we bury, and that tends to resurface at a moment or in a form that we do not control.

Learning how to recognize the existence of emotion, in oneself and in others, and to decode its indications is important. Not only does it allow avoiding the undesirable consequences of denying it, but it also provides valuable information to improve the situation. However, correctly decoding the meaning of an emotion is complex, as emotions sometimes advance under cover of masks, or even of disguises. What’s more, the way of experiencing emotions can vary greatly from one person to another, which can lead to misunderstandings. Here are some tools to avoid missteps and give yourself the means to work on the three principal negative emotions: fear, anger and sadness.

In this synopsis:
– Some missteps to avoid when facing an employee in emotional crisis
– Understanding and channeling the energy of negative emotions
– Encouraging the serene expression of negative emotions

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