How to Navigate Emotions In The Workplace

No matter if you find yourself grappling with stress, loneliness, or irritation—or simply seeking to cultivate a more positive and productive work environment—managers must learn to navigate emotions in the workplace. All kinds of feelings make their way into our daily work experience. The challenge is that when they’re negative or really strong, they can quickly cause us and our teams to get off track.

In this episode of The Modern Manager, host Mamie Kanfer Stewart and I talk about emotions, their impact on us, and how we can process our emotions. We dive into the integration of emotional and rational thinking, strategies for staying calm and moving forward when your emotions spike and so much more.


The Modern Manager Podcast



Mamie and I discuss how to:

  • Unravel the profound significance of emotional management in your professional setting.
  • Dissect the mechanism behind identifying and processing emotions effectively.
  • Delve into real-life tactics to regulate emotions in high-stress situations.
  • Discover the art of standing by your team during emotional upheavals without preconceptions.
  • Comprehend the weightage of empathy and validation in responding to the emotional states of others. 

The key moments in this episode are:
00:02:12 – Understanding Emotions
00:05:23 – Different Thinking Strategies
00:07:32 – Emotions at Work
00:09:48 – Self-Reflection and Acceptance
00:14:59 – Dysregulated Position Throughout the Day
00:17:39 – Naming and Taming Emotions
00:19:46 – Creating Space and Clearing Emotions
00:21:47 – Supporting Team Members’ Emotional Experiences

Self-reflection is key to developing emotional intelligence, as it allows us to examine our own thoughts, emotions, and patterns of behavior, leading to more informed decision-making and better relationships. – Jen Hope

Understanding Emotions

Emotions are physical sensations in our bodies that indicate our reactions to thoughts and experiences. They provide us with language to explain what we’re experiencing. However, our emotional education is often limited to simple terms like happy, mad, sad, or angry.

Jen, an accomplished leadership coach, emphasized that there are many more words to describe our day-to-day experiences. Part of emotional education is learning to recognize these emotions in our physical bodies.

Emotional Sensitivity and Control

Some people are less sensitive to emotional inputs, leading to fewer emotional reactions. Are others simply better at controlling or naming their emotions? The emotional mind and rational mind are from dialectical behavioral therapy, where some individuals lean more towards rational thinking while others lean more towards emotional thinking. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the DISC assessment are tools that can help understand different thinking and feeling strategies.

Emotions in the Workplace

Self-reflection and gaining deeper insight into our own thoughts, emotions, and patterns of behavior are important to consider. Everyone needs to examine their own experiences, learn from them, and make more informed decisions in the future.

Jen gave an example of being in a meeting and noticing early signs of anger, such as sweating, a warm face, and discomfort in her seat. The first step is accepting that we all have emotions and acknowledging that sometimes they can get the best of us. By recognizing that something is up and reflecting on it, individuals can start to understand their emotions better and respond more skillfully in the moment.

Emotion regulation is about applying skills to process our emotions and stay calm, even in conflicts or debates, so that our brain stays online and we can empathize with others. – Jen Hope

Suppressing Emotions

Trying to suppress emotions is like pushing a filled-up beach ball underwater. No matter how hard people push it down, it will eventually resurface, potentially in unexpected ways. So it’s important to find strategies to close the stress cycle and manage our emotions.

Managing Emotions During Difficult Conversations

Managing emotions during difficult conversations is vital. Avoid negative self-talk and instead approach challenging moments. Jen suggested various techniques to calm ourselves down, such as taking an emotional lap, going for a walk, or engaging in a calming activity like drinking a glass of cold water or breathing intentionally.

Discover the extraordinary power of emotional management in the workplace as we unravel the unexpected twist that transformed Jen’s career and life. 

Head to the Modern Manager website to watch and listen.

Connect With Mamie: 


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