How to Manage Individuals’ Emotions
We have established how to understand the emotions of the individual, it is also crucial to know the best ways to deal with those emotions. There is hardly any wrong or right in this specific area, as human feelings are complex and situations always have a differing context to them. Even though there is no textbook on how to respond to one’s emotions, there certainly are some better and worse approaches you could take. Learning to both understand and manage others’ emotions makes you an emotionally intelligent individual. Or in other words, you’d be halfway down the road to the perfect emotionally intelligent team.
What does regulating others’ emotions really mean? How is it done?
Well, to give you a clearer understanding on the matter, managing an individual’s emotions simply means that you have not only understood what they are feeling and where they are coming from – you should also be able to impact them in a good way. If, for example, a team member is shouting at others, you should be the mediator and shut down the hostile situation without hurting anyone’s feelings. If a team member is shy you should encourage them to speak up and be sociable, but not in a way that would make them or the team feel uncomfortable. Someone who is good at regulating others’ emotions knows what to say, how and when to say it.
Having a better understanding of what managing one’s emotions are, we can dive into how this is done. It should be clear that manipulation is not what we are striving for here. The goal is to simply achieve a feeling of belonging to the group by recognizing everyone’s individuality and celebrating it. We should be able to understand each team member is unique, and their emotions are too. Something may seem funny to you, but be extremely unpleasant to someone else. That is why first you should:
Know your colleagues
Take the time to get to know your coworkers better. You would be amazed at how colourful and remarkable everyone is if you ask them a question outside of work. Make notes in your mind on what triggers them, what makes them happy, what is influencing their emotional state the most. This way you would know what topics are sensitive for them and shouldn’t be brought up as much; what they are striving for, what irritates them and how you can make them feel better.
Once you start being mindful about such things, it will eventually come naturally to you, as your emotional intelligence increases. Even though it seems like members of an emotionally intelligent team never face critical situations, this is far from the truth:
Say “Yes” to confrontation
This may seem odd at first, but confrontation is what keeps a team growing in the right direction. When members have done something to violate the rules of the group, they should be held accountable for it. Now, this does not mean to engage in hostile behaviour; the correct way to critique someone is to tell them what they have done wrongly, without making them feel bad about it.
E.g. If one of your colleagues decided to stop for a coffee in the morning and be a bit late for a meeting, that is overstepping the boundaries and the team should feel comfortable to tell him/her. Don’t make a rude remark when he/she arrives. Tell them you needed them earlier and they should always be on time. This ensures there are no hard feelings, as the late employee feels valuable to the group, but also understands they were in the wrong.
A great way to call attention to such a boundary being overstepped is to use your sense of humour. A good laugh is always welcome and joking is far less harsh than a normal confrontation could be. Make sure everyone is not laughing at someone’s expense though. Be nice, but straightforward.
Show that you care
What can really turn around one’s attitude is others showing they actually care. Most times negative emotions, even if not derived from, are accentuated by one’s feeling they are misunderstood. For this exact reason, therapy works: we have someone who will understand when we share our problems with them. So why not be your colleague’s therapist when they need it? Try and practice being understanding, thankful and respectful towards others. Unsure how to show it?
Harvard Business Review gives us the following example:
An employee arrived late to a meeting that was awfully inconvenient for him. He was visibly upset about that. However, when one of his colleagues recognized his efforts (they thanked him for arriving, even though it was inconvenient for him), the late member’s attitude changed instantly.
What should also be taken into account is that you should be able to manage your own emotions in stressful situations, so that you do not contribute to worsening them by reacting impulsively. How does one avoid acting out? Here are some tips and tricks that could help you with that:
Change your focus
If anyone in the office is feeling particularly unfriendly towards you today, do not feel the need to reply with the same. It may just be a bad day for them. Try and shift your attention away from this: focus on what you have to do and the colleagues that are respectful towards you.
Be the master of your feelings
Even though it may not always seem like it, the only person who can influence how you are feeling at a certain point in time is you. Do not forget that. When someone’s actions are getting to you, practice cognitive reappraisal: swap the anger with positive emotions. It is easier said than done, so a great way to succeed in that is asking yourself questions:
- What am I grateful for?
- Would act out in this situation better me in any way?
- What should I be excited about today? etc.
With enough practice, you will become able to manage your own, as well as your colleagues’ feelings and be the best member your team requires! KissTheFrogNOW is also designed to help you get to know and understand your teammates better: the team building games further the feeling of belonging to the group; the Discussion cards are fantastic for mimicking and practising confrontation that is not harmful to anyone, and the Illustrations and PersonalQuestions will give you great inside into your coworkers’ minds. Use them to help you on your journey to being the best team possible!
You can read more about:
- How to Understand and Manage Emotion in Teams: Part 1
- How to Understand and Manage Emotion in Teams: Part 3
- How to Understand and Manage Emotion in Teams: Part 4
This article was inspired by the following sources: