Part 2: Dealing With Emotions at Work
This is part two and the conclusion of this little series on handling stressful and emotional situations at work. Read Part 1 here!
Responding To Strong Emotion
- If you can, let the emotional person vent. Listen to what they have to say. You can give affirmation that you are listening, but you don’t have to agree with them. The point here is to let them get it out a little, and to avoid dismissing their feelings.
- While they’re talking ask for more details. Force their mind to start working again. Use their name when asking questions. This helps to reinforce that you acknowledge their importance. Try to lead them into discussing a solution to their problem with you.
- Don’t interrupt them, but at the same time do not let them interrupt you. If they do, calmly state that you’d like to finish your statement or question really quickly. Remember, when they interrupt you most of the time it isn’t an attempt to be offensive. They are simply in a passionate state of mind.
- If you can, it is sometimes necessary to ask to take a break. Go for a walk and allow both of you to cool down. When dealing with others emotions; especially strong emotions; it is very easy to get caught up in them. Know when you need a break.
- If a person is simply unable to get control of themselves again, acknowledge that you know the problem is serious, but that you aren’t communicating very well with them at that time. If they are particularly abusive, it is okay to tell them that you don’t find the way they’re treating you acceptable. Keep it courteous.
Managing Your Emotions
- Know when you’re angry or upset. Don’t let your own emotions surprise you.
- When you’re upset, talk to someone you know who can calm you down. Friend, spouse, brother, whomever. Keeping it inside will lead to an explosive event down the road.
- Be aware of situations or people that know how to push your buttons and avoid them if you can. If you can’t, then go in with a plan and an attitude to get the job done quickly and effectively.
- Work out or do a hobby that will let you release any pent up emotions. You need to try and let go of your anger, shame, and other damaging emotions at the end of the day. Otherwise they can become pervasive in other aspects of your life.
I had an issue recently where I was dealing with some very upset people. I handled it well, but I figured I could use a refresher in making sure that I could diffuse situations as aptly as possible. I figured going into a shoulder season we could all take a little time to reflect and get ready for summer. In the end, as I said near the beginning: we’re all human. You will have emotional outbursts. Have the grace and professionalism to apologize for them. A simple, “I’m sorry” can go a long way.
Travis Rougier is a modern day Renaissance man. Tech guru. Ebullient Entrepreneur. Real estate expert extraordinaire. Purveyor of amazing things. Heliophile. Father of three. I write on my own blog here.