The place emotions deserve anywhere; including the workplace!

Emotional awareness, or emotional intelligence, connect really well with inner leadership or maybe more practically; what place do emotions have in the workplace? – why is it so important? Let’s take a closer look.

In many places the belief that emotions shouldn’t be expressed is still lingering. Though most of us are starting to understand the use and necessity of emotion everywhere, often I see people second guessing HOW emotions can support us professionally. In essence it’s quite simple. In two regards 1) Emotions are pieces of information to understand yourself 2) Emotions are pieces of information to understand others. 

So when talking about emotions in the workplace I’m not talking about the often catabolic outburst of emotion, those outbursts should at best be used to understand what led to the outburst but in most if not all cases don’t get you what you’re after in a sustainable way.

Emotion, however is still a huge part of who we are and thus permeates every part of our communication, whether we like It or not. It’s on our face, in our intonation, in the speed with which we speak and our body language. 

Emotional awareness, or emotional intelligence, is the ability to recognize and understand your own emotions and the emotions of others. It’s about being able to be supported by your own emotions and respond effectively to the emotions of others. Most would consider it a key component of successful relationships, communication and by extend professional conduct.

Though most people happily accept the actions of other make them feel a certain way, in essence that is not true. The actions of others might trigger some believes and emotions but as not everyone will get angry at someone cutting in front of them, the emotion you create depends on what is going on inside of you. The outside is merely a stimulator. This understanding and the reflection upon what triggers you thus supports self-awareness. As a result, this self-awareness allows you to take a more mindful and intentional approach to managing your emotions. This can help you make better decisions, and it can support you to drive toward your goals or in other word; support you in self-activation.

Emotional awareness also helps you build strong, positive relationships with the base of knowing yourself – it’s about creating a positive and supportive environment for others to grow and develop. Emotional awareness helps you understand the emotions of others as you are more acutely aware of your own emotions and how they are created and triggered. This helps you to respond to other people’s emotions in a more empathetic and supportive way. This ultimately allows you to communicate more effectively, and allows you to build stronger, more authentic relationships with others.

The most practical way to become more aware of your emotions is to reflect on them in a structured manner. You’ll find that once you start doing that constructively you will as a result become more aware of your emotions in the moment. It could be as simple as setting a 2 hour timer which prompts you to check in with yourself how you are feeling in that moment, or you a similar reminder to reflect on the most dominant emotion in the past two hours. At first it might be able to get the nuance of emotions as most people find it hard to describe emotions beyond the basic ones (afraid, angry, happy, excited). They might use words like frustrated, without understanding frustration is a sub-emotion of anger or use happy to describe all things emotions that are enjoyable. If so, download this amazing resource from lead emotion researcher Brene Brown.

To connect it back to inner leadership. To become more aware of your emotions is to become more self-aware (one of the two key components of inner leadership). Based on that awareness you’ll want to move in your chosen direction effectively and thus you’ll require self-activation through expression of emotions or talking about what emotions you sense within others.

In short, emotional awareness is a crucial component of inner leadership. It is a way to gain self-awareness and supports you in relationship building. On a more abstract level it allows you to take a more holistic and balanced approach to personal and professional development. So, if you’re looking to improve your inner leadership skills, consider focusing on developing your emotional awareness. It’s a powerful tool for achieving personal and professional success, and it’s an essential component of inner leadership.

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