When you master your emotions at work it does not mean you will become emotionless. As you build your emotional competencies, you will continue to experience the full spectrum of emotions and learn to express them more effectively.
For many of us, managing our emotions is not easy, particularly when they are elevated. The good news is that emotional intelligence is an intelligence that can be improved so here are five tools you can use to self-regulate when tensions are high.
- Consider the Consequences of Your Actions
Consequential thinking is the process of considering possible outcomes when you are making a decision while experiencing pronounced emotion. In order to use consequential thinking, you need critical thinking, empathy, and visualization skills. When you learn to use consequential thinking in the heat of an emotional situation, you are able to consider multiple outcomes and determine which decision makes the most sense for your well-being and the well-being of your co-workers.
When considering circumstances consequentially, I have to acknowledge there are times when we react inappropriately after considering an appropriate response and its consequences. When this happens, our emotions are so elevated our state of mind caused us to misread important facts and make decisions that are not optimal. In a circumstance like this, it is best to take the time to cool off and the revisit the decision. Chances are, your perspective will change after a cooling-off period.
- Reframe Difficult Situations
Most of us don’t have the luxury of expressing our emotions whenever we want so we need tools that can be used in the moment. One of the more powerful tools for self-management is reframing.
A co-worker once shared a quote by Will Bowen, author of “Complaint free Relationships; How to Positively Transform your Personal, Work, and Love Relationships.” with me. It was simply this, “Hurt people hurt people3.” This is because if they are not equipped with emotional intelligence skills, they unconsciously project what they are feeling inwardly toward the people in their environments and leave a trail of emotional demolition. This statement is a powerful reframing tool you can use if you are experiencing difficult persons at work. It just isn’t personal; they are acting out their own hurt.
You can reframe a situation by learning to identify the silver lining. If you are in an emotional state that does not allow you to perceive the opportunities in a situation, invite the input of a relative or friend who is not contaminated by your emotions. Your goal is to engage an external voice of reason until you can do this for yourself.
- Set Clear Boundaries
Setting boundaries is a three-step process. The first step is to identify the areas of your work and life that require boundaries. Your life is included because sometimes undefined boundaries at home impact your work. Secondly, once you identify these opportunities for boundaries, decide what the boundary will be and what you are prepared to do to maintain it.
Thirdly, always remember that setting boundaries is about continuously reinforcing those limits. When setting your boundaries, remember, setting boundaries does not necessarily exclude persons; it helps them to understand how you prefer them to interact with you.
These three tips are designed to heighten your self-awareness and develop self-management skills so you can engage difficult situations masterfully. Mastering your emotions means you are not only aware of yourself, you are also aware of those you work with and you know what to do to shift your response to contribute to healthy work conditions.
Photo credit: Alejandro Escamilla
****Campus to Career thanks Yvette Bethel for this great post!!****
About the author: Yvette is an HR and change consultant, emotional intelligence practitioner, trainer, and author of the book EQ. Librium: Unleash the Power of Your Emotional Intelligence; A Proven Path to Career Success. She is a Fulbright Scholar with over 25 years of experience. During her tenure in the banking industry, she served in senior capacities in corporate strategy, marketing, PR, training, and human resources. Yvette Bethel can be reached at http://www.orgsoul.com/. Her book E.Q. Librium: Unleash the Power of Your Emotional Intelligence; A Proven Path to Career Success is also available at Amazon and other retailers.
One thought on “3 Tips for Mastering Your Emotions at Work”
Brilliant article Yvette. I strongly agree with you regarding reframing difficult situations at work. With my work at, I have always found that it is essential for a positive and productive work environment. I recently read a 2012 report by Dr. Carmen Harra in which she outlined that having a healthy outlet outside of the office, e.g. physical activity, makes it much easier to reframe difficulties in work.