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Emotion Management Guide for Managers

Having the skills for the job means being equipped with the tools to handle emotions, too.

A team is more than just a group with a common goal; it’s a collection of people with their own thoughts and feelings. Leading a team comes with the responsibility of being in tune with those feelings.

Every employee has a role in getting a job done. But sometimes things go wrong, and frustration arises. Part of being a manager is helping employees work through those difficulties. But it’s hard to help others through their emotions without having the emotional skills.

Improving emotional intelligence has helped leaders across the board in effectively managing their teams. According to TalentSmartEQ, over 90 percent of leaders reported an improvement in handling conflict after undergoing emotional intelligence training.

Managing emotions comes down to being capable of leaving unrelated problems at home, taking control of the moment, and honing your emotional skills. Here’s how.

Supervise your own emotions

It’s true that negativity spreads to others, including in the workplace.

It’s important to leave whatever difficulties you may be facing outside of the workplace at home. Employees will feel it when their manager is in a bad mood. Not only that, but it will make a manager more prone to outbursts.

Before going into work, take the time to assess your affairs and consider how it’s impacting your mood. Being cognizant of emotions is a big first step in managing them.

Self-care outside of work is important, too. Taking care of one’s emotional and physical needs will better prepare them for the workday.

Of course, it isn’t possible for someone to always be in a good mood no matter what life throws at them. Knowing this, it’s good practice to pause and think about whether a reaction is justified for the situation at hand.

In the moment

When people get heated, it can be incredibly difficult to take a step back and think calmly. But doing so can prevent a bad situation from escalating to something worse.

When things get tense, save big decisions for another time. Never fire someone in the heat of the moment.

Important conversations should be put aside for a time when every party is level-headed. If needed, it’s okay to stop in the middle of a conversation and put it on hold for later if things are getting too emotional.

It’s also helpful for someone to know what sets them off. Paying attention to personal triggers will help to stay aware. When you know that a certain behavior drives you up the wall, you’ll know that when it comes up, you may not be thinking from your right mind.

Similarly, it’s helpful for someone to know their own shortcomings. Know when there are subjects or skills that you struggle with, and don’t let it get the best of you.

When faced with difficulty in the workplace, especially when handling an upset employee, managers should watch out for their own defensiveness. Put your ego to the side for a moment and prioritize de-escalating the situation.

Improving emotional skills

Working on emotion regulation skills comes with benefits in every area of life, including at work. Being able to regulate emotions is especially important for managers, as they have the responsibility of being a role model and a rock to their subordinates.

A couple of skills to work on to improve emotional intelligence include mindfulness and active listening.

Mindfulness can help people manage stress by focusing on what’s at hand and letting go of extreme emotions. A good mindfulness exercise to begin with is to close your eyes and focus on your breathing, and how individual parts of your body feel one at a time. This exercise helps people center themselves.

It’s a good idea to practice active listening, too. Being an active listener helps diffuse tense situations and manage conflicts. It involves being open-minded about how someone else may feel.

Also incredibly important when working closely with others is empathy. It may feel easier to react only to what you feel, but trying to understand why others are reacting the way they do can ease your own frustrations.

No one has to navigate these things alone. It can be hard to figure out your stressors or why you feel what you feel.

Asking for feedback from other managers and employees is a great way for managers to get an outside look at their own behavioral patterns. An outside perspective might be better at catching on to such things. Consider asking those you work with what emotional skills they think you might need to work on.

Increasing emotional intelligence allows managers to perform better. It will relieve stress for managers and employees alike, fostering a happier, more productive work environment.