Emotions can be managed at the workplace

Tranquil vibe
Last Updated 11 January 2011, 13:06 IST

Long working hours and hyper-growth are testing the emotional balance of today’s manager. It is believed that because of our innate emotionality that we can, and often do, build successful professional and personal relationships with our colleagues.

So, being emotional is in itself not a negative. But being emotionally immature is quite another matter. Emotionally immature people are often know-it-alls and tend to react defensively to any negative feedback.

Very often managers are confronted with a team that is inexperienced, insecure and emotionally immature. Many of the managers have themselves been elevated to designations/responsibilities that far outweigh their experiences and consequently, they lack the maturity to effectively handle situations.

Today, the average employee has become hyper-sensitive to criticism, immune to feedback and takes the current economic growth for granted. Besides, he is willing, and able to switch jobs with relative ease.

Working impossibly long hours and often at his wits trying to meet targets and retain team members, his work-life balance has gone for a toss. He is tired, and he is stressed. He is fragile and beginning to crack under pressure.

Emotional immaturity - the inability to respond rather than react to situations in a measured and an appropriate way is affecting not just individuals but is also negatively impacting organizations. Emotional immaturity cuts down productivity by more than 50 per cent. It most certainly reduces the speed of the organisations to execute or implement.

Very often, we find managers yelling and belittling their subordinates’ intelligence each time he approaches the manager to ask for advice.

What we have is a classic case, where a manager, either simply, does not possess the skills, or is unwilling to share his knowledge because he lives in a constant state of fear that someone else will take his job away. This prevents managers from raising their team members to ‘an adult ego’ stage where they are empowered to make decisions and take responsibility for them.

Business World’s survey revealed that dissatisfaction with the immediate superior was one of the top three reasons why people left their jobs (the other two being money and lack of a conducive work environment). Emotional maturity is seen as an indispensable trait by most business leaders when appointing top managers.

The candidate who displays high levels of emotional stability definitely has an edge. It indicates the capability of creating an ‘emotional bond’ with his subordinates. Emotional stability, then, is an essential leadership.

Indian managers’ inability or unwillingness to deliver bad news and a desire to avoid confrontation are big stumbling blocks in giving honest feedback. Rather than planned and constructive feedback, managers tend to yell it out in corridors, making the subordinates fearful and defensive.

Emotional Immaturity

The sign of emotional immaturity is when a few words can trigger an extreme and unwanted reaction. An emotionally immature person will react defensively to any negative feedback and will not even pay full attention to such feedback. On the other hand, such people always blame others for their problems. There is another aspect of this, which is that such people are egotistic and believe that they know it all. They react in a volatile manner when faced with adversity, they are thoughtful, and they can’t see the total picture, react too quickly.

Leaders who are emotionally immature build a sense of fear among their colleagues and subordinates. Such leaders indulge in favouritism routinely which can affect decision making and ultimately, results. Top leaders can inculcate emotional maturity among their employees with feedback. Always make them think over things and when you as a leader, see to it that your employees are not reacting too quickly or emotionally to situations or problems. Leaders need to distinguish between an emotional person and one who is just voluble.

It is important for the leader to cultivate trust and a relationship that shows he cares. Chances are that feedback will be accepted only when the employee feels it is in his best interest.

Ego and Emotion

Ego is one of the deadliest traps you could fall into at work, or even in your relationships.

The second of course is emotion. The two forces within you could conspire to ruin you with very little help from external enemies. The enemy is within you.
You can make ego and your emotions your strengths or your greatest weaknesses by allowing someone else to handle them to their advantage.

In our everyday lives, we are bound to be faced with situations that hurt our ego or incite our emotions. A hurt ego almost always responds emotionally. The emotion may be one of sadness, anger, revenge or aggression. Give in to it and you have walked into a trap; to walk away is to transcend on another plane and feel thrilled with your will power and control over yourself.

The aim should be to develop a high level of emotional intelligence, which enables you to think through your emotions intelligently. And to use your emotions to help you think more intelligently. It is important to stay in touch with who you are as a human being, because that is who you will be in every sphere of life, be it work or relationships.

To that end, ego or awareness of self is important. Who you think you are is an integral part of who you become.  
(The writer is a Management Consultant in the field of Training and Development Programmes in the Pharma Industry)

(Published 11 January 2011, 13:06 IST)

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