Emotions don’t belong in the workplace – or do they?


Emotions don’t belong in the workplace – or do they?

Depends on who you ask!


If you ask managers who lack emotional intelligence, they’re likely to agree. But leaders with high emotional intelligence have a different point of view – they understand that emotions can’t be left at the office door. 


Why emotional intelligence is crucial when leading a team? 

Because emotional intelligence is directly related to interpersonal effectiveness. The higher your emotional intelligence, the more effective leader and communicator you will be. 

What is emotional intelligence anyway? 


Emotional intelligence can be defined as the ability to distinguish, understand, and have an awareness of how thoughts and feelings connect with outward displays and behaviors, as well as the ability to manage and express appropriate emotions and help others do the same.

In other words: 

  • awareness, 
  • expression, 
  • management of emotions 

are the three main aspects of emotional intelligence. 

What’s more, when leading a team being aware, able to express and mange own emotions is equally important as being able to do the same for others.

What’s the difference between leaders with low & high EI? 


1. Awareness.

Low EI – Not only are these leaders unaware of their own emotions, but they are unaware of other people’s emotions as well. Moreover, they’re also unaware of the effect they have on others. 

High EI – These leaders are not only aware of their and other’s emotions, but they’re able to step back and recognize that their emotions are not automatic (emotions arise from interpretations). They also look for clues in their emotions, asking questions such as “Why did I have this response, and what can I learn from this?”

2. Expression.

Low EI – such leaders have a limiting belief that expressing emotions should not be done in the workplace. They don’t want people to see their emotions, and don’t want to deal with the emotions of others. When they do express emotions, they often express them inappropriately, for example, by yelling or rolling their eyes.  

High EI – such leaders understand that emotions are a part of each of us, and that they can’t be “turned off” at will. They know how to appropriately express their emotions, at the appropriate time. By sharing, acknowledging, and validating, they create an environment in which their co-workers and staff feel valued and understood. 

3. Management.

Leaders with low EI can’t manage their own emotions, and therefore, the people around them don’t look to them in times of crisis for guidance and support. They tend to be frustrated, angry, and resentful, and this is apparent to everyone.  

Leaders with high EI have the ability to manage their own moods and to help other people shift to more positive moods. They also are able to control their own emotions, even during stressful situations. They respond, instead of react, and their generally calm attitude promotes a positive work environment. 

Why emotional intelligence is so important?


In the previous article “What kind of leader are you?” I listed 5 roles essential to be an effective leader in industry 4.0 and one of them was Yoda – a leader with great self-awareness, mental strength and high emotional intelligence.

How much Yoda do you have in your leadership? 

How do you rate yourself in each of the 3 elements of emotional intelligence?

My personal recommendations:

Do you want to develop your emotional intelligence? Start with this book:

“Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman

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