The ability to effectively express emotions is a desirable skill in today’s workplace. Communicating openly and concisely leaves little space for misunderstanding and presents opportunity for ripe creativity and productivity.

Recent studies show that organisations that fail to promote an environment where employees can openly express emotions, are hindering their employee’s productivity, creativity and performance. This negligence is in turn costing the organisation. The time of “the workplace is no place for expressing emotions” is gone by the way side, replaced with acceptance that suppressing emotions does not lessen the problem, rather leaving it fester until it eventually comes out in ways that will negatively affect performance, productivity and relationships.

A study conducted by the Robert H. Smith School of Business, assessed teams from a range of sectors and found that organisations that practiced a culture which encouraged its employees to express their emotions scored higher in relationship performance, productivity, creativity and reliability compared with those organisations that omitted this soft skill in practice. The study also found that leaders and managers played a significant role in embedding this culture.

Developing a work environment where people can express their emotions freely and constructively isn’t easy. Especially considering that it is human nature to do just the opposite and avoid emotionally charged conflicts. As mentioned in a previous blog, managing disputes between employees and addressing performance issues is a manager’s least favourite task.

Implementing this culture of expressing emotions in conversation must begin with management. By investing in the upskilling of management teams on how to properly and effectively express emotions in the workplace, you create a model for employees to follow.

The benefits of upskilling your ability to constructively express emotions are:

It nips the problem at the bud
Having an emotionally expressive conversation with an employee or a manager is far preferable to letting it fester and turn into a negative emotionally charged conflict. By expressing feelings in the workplace in a timely, effective, and work-appropriate manner can help you identify and resolve conflicts while they are still manageable.

Increases empathy
Empathy drives connection. By expressing your feelings, in a work appropriate way, you can raise the amount of empathy that your employees feel for you by making it easier for them to understand why you feel that way. Communicating emotions to colleagues can improve both communication to and from employees and management, and it can also help build stronger relationships between team members.

Invites understanding
Employees who understand why decisions are being made are much more likely to agree with and respect those decisions. Walking your employees through not just the rational, but the emotional reasons behind a decision can go a long way to bringing them on board with that decision.

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