When was the last time you encountered an upsetting situation at work? Today? Yesterday? Last week? Chances are you’ve come across someone or something that brings up anger, frustration, disappointment or hurt feelings. And no matter how rarely such upsets may occur, the chances are pretty good that something upsetting will happen again in the future. Those feelings are a normal and natural part of being in the game of life, a part of being human. You share that probability with the rest of the human race.
Now, please consider this thought:
You can use your feelings as your allies in the workplace (and everywhere).
When strong emotions show up on the job, remember that every feeling signals an opportunity, captures your attention, and can move you to clarify, learn or take action. Intuitive nudges and impulses can support your relationships and success. You make the choice to respect those emotions and guide your responses to create trust and increase productivity, or not …
When difficult work situations show up, your best strategy is to take the time to self-assess what needs, values, assumptions, feelings or memories contribute to your emotional response. Each time you respond to your emotions, you make a choice, and you can learn to manage your responses. Everyone can.
Here is a 1-2-3 strategy for managing your emotional energy:
1. Acknowledge and feel the emotion without denying or minimizing its validity.
2. Listen to the feedback the emotion brings to you. What is at stake?
3. Guide or channel the energy appropriately into a constructive response.
The energy of emotions is neither good nor bad. Their effects are determined by your responses. You can listen to and respect your feelings, while you actively direct your emotional energy into doing more of the things that will serve you best in your efforts to reach your business (or personal) goals. Here is one way to take charge and direct your feelings into constructive results.
Put emotional feedback into action by saying, “I am responsible for me.”
This strategy is extremely useful to do right when you experience emotional upset. It is also useful after the fact to learn new ways to communicate in future situations.
1. Take an explicit pause from any interaction to safely feel the surge of emotions.
2. Prompt yourself, “If I now take responsibility for this feeling, and every feeling I experience, and the words I speak (every word), _______________________.”
3. What would complete the above sentence? Are there more ways than one for you to fill in the blank? Write down as many different endings as you can.
4. Put a circle around the ending in #3 that you believe is the most responsible way for you to respond to this current (or past) emotionally upsetting situation.
5. What type of response will your chosen communication most likely elicit from the others involved in this upset? It pays to write this down also.
6. How can you use these insights now or in the future?
Remember, it’s never too late to reestablish integrity with others involved after an upset. When you thoughtfully respect and purposefully direct your emotional feedback, you can be your own best boss.
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