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Emotions Matter. Prove me wrong.

Updated: May 13, 2022

I got asked this morning:

What do you believe is stopping people from having conversations about emotions in the workplace?

An overwhelming question to start the day with, where do I start?

  • Time,

  • The New Zealand culture of cutting down tall poppies, and ‘harden up mate’ mentality,

  • The perception of no measurable outcomes,

  • Masculinity of the workplace,

  • Time (again),

  • Budget constraints,

  • Misunderstanding of importance of emotions,

  • Prioritisation of work outcomes and always being ‘too busy’,

  • Fear about what conversations like this might uncover,

  • Lack of resources,

  • Poor training for our leaders, who are often in the job because they have been there the longest,

  • Leaders who are (or are encouraged to be) operational not people focused,

  • Status quo,

  • Lack of confidence in our own abilities to achieve an emotionally positive environment, and a

  • Joking, self sabotaging, self deprecating workplace culture...

That's probably enough to start the day with....

While I could write a blog about every single one of those 'perceptions', I will concentrate today on:

Why does emotion matter in the workplace?

A companies emotional culture sets the tone for how employees think, behave and get things done. How team-orientated, customer focused, competitive, innovative or motivated they are, are all impacted by the emotions permitted and encouraged by an organisation.

If leaders suppress employees’ emotions, it creates an environment of indifference. Dr Jochen Menges from Cambridge Judge Business School explains employees just get on with work, but they are not as committed and invested anymore. A bit of emotion, a bit of up and down makes work meaningful.

All emotions.

Not just happiness.

If we were just looking at Happiness, companies often recommend solving that with perks – yoga classes, gym memberships, Friday drinks. But its more than that, its about the work itself, the joy of colleagues, good leadership, logical organisational structure, and meaningful strategic direction.

If a company wants longevity, past the current project, KPI or sales target, the emotions of their leaders and employees matter.

Ignoring the emotions of your team because it is too warm and fuzzy, not qualitative, or measurable isn’t going to cut it in a post COVID world.

Your employees know about self-care, healthy boundaries, positive employee environments and have done the research – if you don’t create a workplace that encourages and inspires healthy emotional culture, they will likely try and find someone else who will. With unemployment at a record low of 3.2% in NZ currently, is it worth taking the risk?

Like any good organisational metric you need to be able to measure it. We, (Blue Mercury Leadership) do this by creating a safe environment to start discussing the emotions of your employees, how they can self-manage and drive their own emotions, and subsequently as a collective create a workplace that breeds those emotional environments every day.

Take the plunge, what's the worst that can happen?

Flip that, what's the best that can happen?

Here are a few ways you can learn more about The Emotional Culture Deck:


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