Once upon a time, in the recent past, emotions had no place in the workplace. Whether on a factory assembly line, in an office or the boardroom, you were expected to leave your emotions and personal life at the workplace door – except this didn’t really happen, emotions just revealed themselves other, often unhealthy, ways.

Thankfully times have somewhat changed. We now accept that emotions are integral to the human experience. Parenting has changed and children are more supported to express their emotions. We talk about emotions more widely and we engage in personal development. We also have greater understanding of the detrimental effects that suppressing emotions can have on our physical and mental health (and their correlation with certain conditions and diseases).


Talking about Emotional Intelligence (EI)

We’ve been talking about Emotional Intelligence since the 1990’s and it’s become an important skill in our personal and professional lives. Developing our emotional intelligence makes a real difference to success in our personal and professional relationships. The ability to recognise emotions in ourselves and others, understand their effects, and use that knowledge to guide our thoughts and behaviours is hugely beneficial.

Emotional wellbeing is a vital ingredient of a productive, harmonious and engaged workforce. Research shows that workplaces which take this seriously and who employ and develop emotionally intelligent leaders and teams, have an advantage over their competitors.


Emotional Intelligence as leaders

Today’s leaders are expected to master their own emotions, and develop strategies to support employees’ emotionally at work. This is a positive, yet often challenging task. For in reality, many people still find it difficult to really open up and admit they’re struggling, or be able to manage ‘big’ emotions at all.

We might have read the scholarly articles on emotional intelligence and resilience, we might have engaged in training to understand it, yet when push comes to shove, many of us still stay away from emotions. A primary reason is a fear of connecting with and actually feeling their own and other people’s emotions. At the more extreme end are the people who’ve totally dissociated from almost any emotion at all (as with many of my clients).

What is dissociation?

When someone is very dissociated from emotion, it’s often a sign they’re carrying old trauma. Furthermore, when we’re young and our emotions are ignored, criticised or judged by adults and friends, the message we get is that it’s somehow bad or wrong to have emotions. This can lead to feelings of shame and learning to disassociate or develop ways of numbing, ignoring or avoiding them. People can seek external validation instead by over working, people-pleasing, through drugs or alcohol or doing other risky behaviours. Repeated over time a pattern sets in.

This then shows up as fear of trusting self and others and an inability to show vulnerability. We might feel it’s not safe to show emotion because we will be rejected or judged if we do. This is our mind protecting us and keeping us safe. Whilst thinking this, the paradox is that this behaviour actually keeps us emotionally vulnerable and weak. Dissociation means we never deal with the underlying trauma and so it keeps presenting itself until we’re ready to deal with it.

Over time, there’s often a cost in terms of mental and physical health issues such as long term aches, pains, and chronic illness, which can all be expressions of unresolved emotions at the unconscious level. Another downside of dissociation from emotion is we don’t recognise when we’re feeling stressed. These things then impact our professional lives, resulting in lower productivity, depression, lack of fulfilment and time off work. Which is why it’s vital to learn to become aware of what’s going on inside our body, connect back into our emotions and name them. 

Building emotional resilience

Emotional resilience is part of emotional intelligence. It’s defined as the ability to identify, understand, and manage emotions. Resilience is defined as the capacity to deal with, adapt and recover well from unpleasant and damaging events. It’s about us learning how to deal with emotions that arise when we face setbacks, pressure, or difficult challenges. It’s about being flexible and adaptable. It requires self awareness and knowing our strengths and those things that challenge us. Essential 21st century skills!

Good emotional resilience means we can connect into and describe exactly how we feel in a nuanced way. It enables us to observe and pinpoint what triggers our emotions and where the emotion is. We can then identify and observe any patterns and if they’re problematic, change them.

Low emotional resilience is problematic in the workplace. It can show up as a lack of empathy for others, an inability to self-regulate, sudden emotional outbursts, physical ailments or mental ill health. The knock on effect can be apathy, dissatisfaction, an unhealthy toxic workplace culture and a lot of staff sickness.

Benefits of supporting staff to develop emotional intelligence

Supporting employees to develop their emotional intelligence builds their emotional resilience. This is beneficial not only for motivation, productivity and a more harmonious workplace, it’s vital for personal wellbeing and happiness too.

No matter how skilled we get at managing our emotions and life, there will be times where the shit really hits the fan. When you have emotional resilience though, you know you’ll come out fine and all will be well. You know you have all the resources you need inside to manage and deal with the curve balls that come your way.

Many NLP processes encourage people to notice and connect or reconnect with their feelings and emotions and work with them, which include skills to change negative emotions that put you in a more uptime and resourceful state. Three of these are: Anchoring, Changing strategies, and Time Line Therapy® 

A personal breakthrough is a hugely effective way to clear blocks, create real  clarity about the future and build a sold foundation of emotional resilience. Get in touch here to find out just how much you could break through in just one or two days!

Or to find out more about NLP training go here.