According to work tradition, strong emotions are not valued in the workplace. Sure, if you are having a good day, a smile is certainly not frowned upon, but be wary of being to buoyant or sinking into the depths of despair. Emotions in the workplace are not tolerated well by colleagues and employers.
Why can’t our work culture accept that we are human and have emotions when a customer or client gets angry with us? Or how about when an employer tells us we are not performing to the right standards and they are disappointed with our progress, even though we’ve been working our butts off? Are we supposed to accept it with a smile and nod?
Branch manager of U.S. Bank, Marly Grey, says that emotions generally need to be constricted. Read the interview we had with her to find out what current emotional conditions are like at her workplace.
CUWT: Marly, thank you for taking your time to talk to us today.
Marly: It’s no problem. I’m happy to talk.
CUWT: So as a manager who has employees and executives above you, what is your take on emotions in the workplace? Are they appropriate?
Marly: I think it’s never appropriate to show your emotion strongly one way or another. It looks like you are out of control. If you look like you can’t keep a handle on things, that it appears you can’t handle the nature of business and act in a responsible manner.
CUWT: Well, I’m sure there are some emotions in the workplace. How do you handle it when your employees break down, and start crying?
Marly: It does make people feel uncomfortable when someone starts crying. I mean, I have had a couple situations where I needed to excuse myself because the negative information an executive gave me made me very upset. When my colleagues or employees breakdown, I try to listen to them and understand what the issue is and talk them through it. Communication is a big thing for me, and I think I develop a stronger team because of it.
CUWT: Are there times when showing emotion at the workplace is appropriate?
Marly: Yes and no. It really is a give and take situation. If you are having the occasional bad day and want to talk about it, I don’t think there is any harm in that, but if every day there is a meltdown or some major issue, it ends up affecting productivity.
CUWT: Any other tips for managers or colleagues on how to manage emotions their own emotions or that of their work mates?
Marly: Be an ear, and listen. Some sharing of emotion is ok, because it can build a better, stronger bond with your team or department. I have found that complete repression isn’t healthy, but if you provide some helpful advice on how to get over the situation, that person can use the advice for the future.
CUWT: Thank you for your time Marly.
Marly: Thank you.
The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times both agree that expressing strong emotions may not be the best career move. However, since the era of baby boomers is phasing out, and the new generation of social media aware workers are phasing in, more emotions may come into play. Good or bad? It remains to be seen. We think it is best to keep your rants and raves on the down low, but restraining all emotions can be unhealthy.
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