10 tips to help you manage your emotions at work?

Recently a young Manager came to me upset with what her Manager had said about her lack of control over her emotions at work. It took me back as I used to find it difficult to hide my emotions and if I was upset it would show. The first point we discussed was what the examples were that the Manager had mentioned and through the conversation it was clear that no real examples had been shared. From a Manager’s perspective, if giving feedback then make sure specifics are given.

Through the years I’ve picked up some tips which I’ve shared with Manager’s to help them in their more upset moments and these I share:


1. Take some deep breaths for a few minutes. If you can go and walk over to a window and concentrate on the view and concentrate on one thing to ground yourself.

2. Smile – It’s amazing how a smile can change the whole mood and how it can take the heat off. You start to feel better about yourself by smiling.  

3. Struggling with emotions that come in waves – write it down in a journal and examine what was going on around you, how you felt at the time, what the situation was and then assess what started the thoughts behind the emotions.

4. Sometimes just changing your thought pattern can help. Try looking at the situation from the other person’s perceived viewpoint can help shed light on why they are saying or doing the thing that has upset you and from that, you can rebalance yourself so you can rationalise it.

5. Understand yourself and how you react. What pushes your buttons. What is the emotion you are feeling? Now explore why you are feeling this and give it the real emotional name, articulating why you feel the way you do. Being able to talk about it will help you recognise the emotion for what it truly is and then work to change your outlook.

6. Watch others and how they cope with their emotions. I always remember dealing with a member of staff who frightened me by her aggressive behaviour. One day I bumped into her previous Manager, who shared her tip of taking deep breaths before answering the woman as well as hiding her hands so the staff member couldn’t see how upset she was.

7. As a result of the discussion with the previous Manager, I felt more able to cope with the emotions the woman arose in me. Finding someone to talk to and confide in, who can coach you into dealing with situations and emotions can be a real bonus.

8. I recall an occasion when a group of Managers disagreed with my suggestions for resolving a problem and I felt like they were all ganging up. Unfortunately, I didn’t handle it well and got very upset. It took me a few weeks to realise I should have detached myself from the situation through suggesting the issue was parked for a review on another day and then talked to them individually. So, if a situation rears its head, there are occasions when it is better to just cut the conversation until the emotions have cooled down and then go back to it.

9. Dislike of a person is a difficult one to deal with. The key thing to remember here is that you still need to work together and respect each other as you are being paid to do a good job. If they are rude and unhelpful then remember two wrongs don’t make a right and always treat them politely and helpfully. And if they are quite blatantly rude then politely say you will not be treated that way and calmly take a break away from the situation.

10. Feeling frustrated and struggling to move things on. Perhaps you feel as if things aren’t moving quick enough and you are getting angry and pushing too hard. Stop and look at those around you. How are they feeling? Are you taking into account the speed they need to go at? Consider what the positive spin is by going slower or understanding their way, rather than concentrating on seeing the negative side.

Let me know how you get on with these tips and do share tips you have picked up along the way.

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