Emotions at Work

So...how are your people doing at work this week? Is it a week full of positive emotions, new growth, creation and adventure, or is everyone just doing the best they can to survive? Either way, it might be time for a soil test.

Right now, I'm kind of into this Positive Psychology thing. It's more than just a passing infatuation...in fact I think I'm in love. Wait, wait...before you run away calling me a happy hippie or something, hear me out. As a Trainer and Coach it's my JOB to help people be more effective in their work to achieve better outcomes - and this is something that in the past, companies have attacked through providing great skills or behavioural training and making sure we get the right people in the right jobs and upskill them accordingly. Ooooh how busy those fabulous HR Worker Bees are doing this! And it works to a certain extent - or even most of the time, if you're like me and never, ever, EVER give up until you get the result your client wants (even if it is kind of exhausting)!

But this week I got a slap in the face. I realised that there is something fundamentally missing in this approach - we are not testing the soil in the office!

Emotions at work

The bottom line is, there are certain emotions that tend to help us "open" - to be more creative, productive and imaginitive, more focused and inspired, better at solving problems and communicating - and there are other emotions that tend to make us "shut down". Anyone want to take a guess....?? Yes! It's the emotions that we tend to label as "negative" that close us down (think back to the days of the cavemen - it was smart to retreat to the cave when you felt fear or pain!). And far more interesting to me is that according to the scientific research, the huge range of emotions that we can label as "positive" (yes, it IS more than just "happiness") have a range of different opening effects on us, inspiring us to take action in a certain way that is also widely predictable. Check it out:

EMOTIONS AND THEIR CORRESPONDING "ACTION URGES"

  • JOY inspires playfulness.
  • INTEREST inspires exploration.
  • HOPE inspires us to yearn for positive change.
  • PRIDE helps us to dream big.
  • AMUSEMENT helps us bond over shared laughter and leads to new insights.
  • INSPIRATION makes us aspire to excellence.

I look at it like this. The soil in your office is the emotional environment - and it's either providing rich nourishment so that your Team have the chance to feel these emotions, and inspire these "Action Urges" regularly....or it's slowly choking them to death.

Take a look at it - who wouldn't want a Team who are playfully exploring, aspiring to excellence and maintaining hope for positive change, even when things are tough? Who could possibly say it's a bad thing to help their Team dream big, share great bonds and enjoy new insights?! I don't know about you, but I sure want to work in an office where these are the things that we experience regularly!

So how does your soil test look? Are you creating an environment, with your words, your actions and the example you set as a Leader, that inspires these kinds of emotions? Or are things pretty dry back there in the office? If so, try something out for me today - when presenting a problem challenge to your Team that needs resolution, find a way to have a laugh about it somehow (come on, I know you can do it!). Present it as an interesting puzzle and encourage them to have a chat about how to solve it. Remind them that you believe in their ability to do so and remind them that when it's solved, things will be better for everyone. INSPIRE them to their best performance through your own approach and pro-active nature.

Now stand back. And watch them GROW.

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About the author 

Catherine Bell

Catherine is a true believer in the power of people to transform organisations - and the world. An inspiring Speaker, Facilitator and Coach, Catherine has spent more than 18 years of her career leading teams and individuals to extraordinary performance. She has worked as a Consultant, Trainer and Human Resources Manager with some of the largest service organisations in the world, both in Australia and internationally.