Controlling your emotions at work

by Michael Haberman on July 19, 2018 · 0 comments


Before you react follow these rules.

Humans are emotionally driven. This means that many situations occurring at work may be emotionally charged. Letting your emotions get the better of you can be detrimental to working relationships. One of my favorite gurus, Harvey Mackay, has a story and some suggestions about controlling your emotions. I am not going to tell you the story, but you can read it here. Take just a moment to click through and read the very short story so you understand the premise for the advice that follows. Many, if not most, of you, will recognize yourself in this scenario.

Control your emotion

Mackay says “Smart people don’t let their emotions get out of control.” But we all know that, regardless of how smart we are we may sometimes lose control. Mackay suggests “Before exploding at work, remember this advice.”

  • Pay attention to your behavior. What’s your tone of voice?  What is your body language saying to the other person?  Focusing on your reactions and emotions will help you stay calm.
  • Watch and listen. What do the other person’s tone and body language tell you?  Try to discern whether the other person wants something from you that he or she isn’t asking for.  For example, an employee may be afraid to challenge a manager directly.  Ask if there’s something more going on.
  • Stay positive. With a deep breath or two, try to control the impulse that makes you fight back.  Try to find something positive, even just the fact that you’re gaining experience dealing with conflict.
  • Focus on the here and now. Don’t bring up problems or disagreements from the past.  Stick to the present situation.  Keep words like “always” and “never’ out of the conversation – like “You’re always late to work” – to avoid blowing the argument out of proportion.
  • Ask yourself, “Would I rather be right or happy?” In some cases being right may be more important, such as dealing with safety issues.  In other situations, you might be better off letting the other person win.  It’s never productive to let stubbornness get in the way of listening to another point of view.
  • Take responsibility for communication. You have to clear the air – even if the other person tries to let the problem drop.  Insist on an open, honest dialogue that lets everyone express his or her needs and opinions honestly.

In HR we deal with emotionally charged situations all the time. Following Mackay’s guidance can often disarm an emotional bomb that can hurt relationships. In fact, this advice is good in outside of work relationships, especially marriages.

Try it, I think you will see improvements in your life.

If you thought Harvey Mackay’s advice was good and you would like to read more you can find a way to get his great inspiration by visiting his website here.


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