Managing Emotions at Work: Four Simple Steps to Success

Topic(s): emotional intelligence
Publication: Harvard Business Review (2013)
Article: Emotional Agility
Authors: Susan David and Christina Congleton
Reviewed by: Susan Rosengarten

All people think negative thoughts from time to time; They may feel sad or gloomy, or find themselves in a funk that’s hard to shake. Attempting to suppress these feelings (or even worse, buying into them) can leave people feeling drained. Strong leaders know that it’s okay to think undesirable thoughts on occasion. But being a strong person means keeping things in perspective and not letting these thoughts take over. Managing emotions is a key skill that can benefit all employees. An article in Harvard Business Review (David & Congleton, 2013) offers four practices that can help employees manage their emotions and tackle negative thoughts in a healthy and productive way.

Recognize Patterns: Pay attention to signs that negative thoughts and emotions are beginning to take over and cloud your better judgment.

Label Thoughts and Emotions: This allows you to see your negative thoughts as transient emotional responses that come and go.

Accept Thoughts and Emotions: Validate your feelings of frustration rather than merely brushing them aside. Allow yourself to experience negative emotions in response to important topics or difficult situations.

Act on Values: Once you’ve given your feelings the credence they deserve, you free up time to achieve your goals and become the person you hope to be.

Following these four practices can make the process of managing emotions much easier for employees, removing the stumbling blocks that prevent people from achieving their highest potential.