There is no doubt that female leaders are judged differently than their male counterparts when it comes to the display of emotions at work. But the truth is that emotions are constantly being expressed by both genders. That’s why emotional intelligence (EQ) is hot topic. How emotions are handled matters.
The Key to Expressing Emotions at Work
The key is to express emotions credibly and authentically, but not based on what you alone are experiencing. Rather emotions conveyed in relation to what others are feeling is the differentiator.
As a leader, you want to express feelings that show you are concerned and care about what others are concerned and care about. People don’t want to see you experiencing emotions relevant to you. They relate when you are expressing emotion shared by them and relevant to them.
Illustrations to Differentiate Emotions at Work
For example, tearing up over a colleague’s health crisis or another round of lay offs affecting people you care about may give permission for others to experience their emotions around those same issues.
Whereas over reacting to a project delay with tears rooted in a situation at home may not go over well. This situation is one that may result in the “over emotional” feedback you want to avoid. The emotion communicated was not effective for handling the situation nor was it serving to those you were leading.
Tips for Holding Emotions at Work in Check
A good rule of thumb is to hold your demeanor in check. The following 3 points, which all relate to heightened emotional intelligence, get to the heart of handling emotions at work:
- Identify your emotions and the emotional field of those around you.
- Channel your emotions and note if and how they apply to the situation at hand.
- Manage emotions, by regulating your own and conveying them appropriately in relation to others.
The bottom line is not to stymie your emotions at work. Rather keep them in check by employing your emotional intelligence to the situation. For more on enhancing emotional intelligence, I recommend Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves.