Masking Emotions In The Workplace
Is it unethical to exhibit your emotions in the workplace? Why do employees refrain from showing emotions? Why does it seem as if it’s a crime? Well, It most certainly isn’t. It has been observed and according to research, it was formerly thought to be an impediment to the team’s overall productivity and efficiency, and the rest is history.
Consider your day to date. There would have been times when you had no choice but to deal with others, for a meeting per se, and times when you just wanted to be left alone. Can you tell the difference? Employees are required to display specific emotions as part of their jobs. Imagine attempting to keep all of your emotions hidden at work for 8 hours or more. Exhausting, isn’t it?
Jobs requirements have changed in the modern world, and interestingly so, World Economic Forum has ranked emotional intelligence to be one of the top ten competencies required for the future workforce. Learning how to cope with these negative feelings is now more important than ever. Now that people understand the importance of emotions in the workplace, society must work together to restore humanity to the workplace and encourage employees to bring their emotions to work.
So, let’s get to understand why do employees really hide their emotions at work?
1. To avoid exhibiting fragility
Showing emotion can make you vulnerable, and it’s natural to want to keep your vulnerabilities hidden from others. 59% of workers have felt emotions at work that they didn’t feel that they could freely express. Employees may also be concerned about others exploiting their feelings against them, especially if this has happened to them in the past.
2. Fear of Social Comparison Bias
Employees often feel that they are being compared to their colleagues in every aspect. They avoid displaying emotions in the fear of being the only one expressing when no one else does. Would team members believe them, or, in the worst-case scenario, will it have a negative impact on and demotivate the team? It’s natural to wonder, “Am I the only one? Are my feelings even valid?”
3. The pressure to accomplish ‘more with less’
Employee expectations have been raised excessively high as a result of the constant flux of change and the adoption of hybrid working styles. One out of every four remote workers believes they are victims of proximity bias, and because of the limited resources, they are unwilling to communicate their true feelings as they might appear to be making excuses and draining their credibility.
How can leaders help employees manage emotions at work?
Negative emotions are impossible to keep out of the workplace. No organization is immune to challenges, whether they are caused by poor decisions, misfortune, or personal issues among employees. These emotions, on the other hand, are brushed off in many organizations; in some, they are taboo. Unfortunately, neither of these approaches works. One way to manage the effects of emotional labour is by increasing your awareness of the gaps between real emotions and emotions that are required by your professional persona.
1. Build an open and comfortable culture
Discounting emotions can lead to the invalidation of your identity and sense of self, as well as prevent you from accomplishing personal objectives. Managers should ensure that they create a safe space for employees to practice emotional communication and effectively convey their feelings. For example, an informal one-on-one meeting either outside of the office or on virtual platforms can be scheduled fortnightly to freely express one’s concerns.
2. Fear of Social Comparison Bias
Active listening is a skill that helps you to gain trust and build strong relationships. Listening to your colleagues allows them to express themselves completely, making them feel motivated and heard. It also identifies you as a reliable and trustworthy resource. Eventually, the motivation of the employees drives their efficiency and productivity which in turn affects the organization.
3. Conduct EQ training sessions
It is important as an organization to encourage their employees to openly share what they feel. Conducting pieces of training related to EQ at work will allow them to perceive, reason with, comprehend and regulate their own and others’ emotions. According to research, 58% of organizations who have adopted EQ as a skill have excelled in building stronger personal relationships with coworkers, increased levels of optimism and confidence in their work, and maintained overall better health.
4. Make room for mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes, they are inevitable, and while they should not be simply accepted, they are also not grounds for a reprimand. It’s a terrific method to create trust by calmly correcting or excusing the occasional blunder. However, if errors continue to accumulate, you should set aside time with your personnel to develop a performance improvement strategy.
5. Team building inbound training
Conducting this type of training in the office along with the remote employees present virtually, helps in improving trust levels and interpersonal bonding among employees. When team members have a good understanding of one another, they can use each other’s strengths to overcome weaknesses. It also enhances cross-functional team cohesion, allowing them to exchange their thoughts openly and voluntarily.
Humans are emotional creatures, and your employees are no exception. Emotions must be addressed in order to recognize your employees for who they are and to improve your emotional culture. Encourage your team to express their emotions freely as it is said that employees who express their emotions at work have a higher level of well-being and are more emotionally intelligent. Furthermore, suppressing emotions at work contributes to suppressed emotions that adversely affect our daily work lives.
Understanding and managing your employees’ emotions at work is merely the first step. Use these tips to help you with empowering your employees to create the best possible workspace ever!