I have been thinking this week about the balance of our work in the world of work and in personal relationships. The focus in the former is usually about how to achieve conflict resolution, how to deal with the stresses of corporate life, and how to manage the angry client or member of staff.
Anger is taboo at work
We can say we are stressed, frustrated, upset, undermined. But we can’t say we are angry. And if we do, it’s considered inappropriate and out of order. So in the workplace, passive aggressive behaviours rule supreme.
Passive aggressive? Me?
Failing to respond to messages when you don’t rate the sender, turning up late for meetings, not being available to set a meeting time, copying in all your colleagues on a sideways attack at someone who is pissing you off, passing on ‘confidences’ as a way of finding favour, using the ‘silent treatment’ to show someone how you feel. These are all unhealthy ways of avoiding a direct message of letting someone know how we feel.
So can we resolve conflict unless we fully understand our emotions?
Simply, no. We cannot look for the compromise, until we get an understanding of why we feel upset, frustrated, and angry. We will reach a winner / loser situation otherwise. We need to understand the triggers for these feelings. And so when I am asked to teach conflict resolution in the workplace, I have to teach emotional management first. I can’t collude in covering up the cracks in emotional intelligence with glib strategies until the participants understand their own emotions.
Making a difference
So I want to be a part of the movement introducing emotional intelligence into the workplace. I want to be part of making lives feel more balanced, less stressed, and with more perspective. Everyone talks about the ‘work-life balance’. I don’t think it’s just about the hours or attention we give our work or our home life. I think it’s about finding a way to recognise and express our emotions, understand how it feels for others, and be kinder to both them and ourselves.
If you’d like to change the way you work, play and love, have a look at the courses being offered by CalmPeople, and give us a call.