By Cliff Findlay
So often emotions are kept out of business and you are supposed not to show them. They are seen as a weakness. However we are all emotional beings. We can’t help it so why on earth would you or should you suppress them. What damage does this cause for the individual?
Of course you can’t have emotions running amok at work and destabilising others due to poor control. This will be destructive and counterproductive. So emotions should be controlled through emotional intelligence (EI), something that often has to be taught and learned.
Talking of EI, it’s interesting that in various tests it has been seen to have little or no impact on productivity within the workplace. In some cases it has even reduced it. Areas where it does have a benefit are in jobs where a high degree of emotional labour is required, i.e. customer facing jobs and where a group of people have to work together to create something bigger.
So why, if the business isn't necessarily going to become more profitable with the potential of people causing hassle by releasing them, would I encourage allowing emotions free in the workplace and help breed emotional intelligence within our employees?
Simple. A happy employee isn't just about money and therefore neither can your business be. They are about recognition, enjoying where they work and liking who they work with, understanding that they are working at a 'nice' company and one that actually seems to care about them. This often means that they don't leave, they stay loyal to the business as they feel part of it. They want to help and put themselves forward rather than doing the job by rota.
This creates a better brand, better customer service, less need to go out and replace the 'knowledge' that has just walked out of the door to work with a competitor or set up on their own. They feel understood due to being allowed to be open about how they feel.
Equally, directors should be seen as human, not just the boss (EI has to be a top down change). This will encourage employees to approach them and share their issues and worries, it helps create a better sharing environment where great ideas for new business initiatives may have previously been suppressed - they can now flow or at least have the chance to.
Brands that have done this so well are companies like Zappos, who built an entire business around making work fun for their employees. Then look at John Lewis (one of my favourite brands) who have given their employees shares and encouraged a sharing attitude across the entire company.
All in all, allowing emotions and emotional intelligence within the workplace may just protect your business, which in itself is a very emotionally intelligent thing to do.
Latitude Solutions Ltd
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