The Case for Emotional Mastery
“The ability to recognize, own, and shape your own emotions is the master skill for deepening intimacy with loved ones, magnifying influence in the workplace, and amplifying our ability to turn ideas into results.” – Harvard Business Review
Leaders exert a substantial influence over group moods and emotional states, and how these impact organizational performance. A wave of recent research shows that when leaders allow their people to express their full range of emotions at work, it results in better team-building, idea-generation, and problem-solving. Further, by not only allowing emotions to be exhibited at work, but also thoughtfully shaping them, leaders can positively impact motivation and performance.
An organization’s emotional culture influences:
- Employee satisfaction
- Organizational financial performance
Studies also show that organizations that focus on well-being experience:
- Lower rates of employee turnover
- Higher rates of innovation
- Increased long-term stock performance
Sources: Harvard Business Review Global Study, Deloitte’s 2020 Global Human Capital Trends, CNBC, Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace 2021 Report, and Gallup Workplace
Emotional Mastery makes business sense:
80% people identified well-being as being ‘important’ or ‘very important’ to the success of their organization.
And yet, a mere 2% rate their well-being as ‘excellent’ and a whopping 80% say their workplace well-being has declined since the start of the pandemic.
Further, only 1 in 4 employees strongly agree that their organization cares about their overall well-being.
Employees who frequently experience workplace stress are 3 times more likely to plan to quit their jobs in the next year.
43% employees say they experience daily stress at work.
In fact, employees report experiencing a range of negative emotions on an everyday basis:
- 40% experience worry
- 43% experience stress
- 21% experience anger
- 23% experience sadness
Sources: McKinsey, Harvard Business Review, Gallup 2022 Workplace Report, Deloitte’s 2021 Global Resilience Report
The Optimal State of Emotions
Emotions by themselves are seldom black or white, positive or negative. At times, seemingly ‘positive’ emotions like optimism can make us complacent and seemingly ‘negative’ emotions such as anger can give us the drive we need to right a wrong. Your instinctive, natural emotional response may not be your most effective emotional response.
Redirecting an Emotion
Emotional mastery isn’t simply about expressing certain emotions and not expressing others. It’s about knowing how to take the focus and energy an emotion brings and translate it into positive action.
Mastering Emotions by Changing Your Behaviors
A powerful path to emotional mastery is through your behavior. Learn a set of different actions you can practice to take control over how you are feeling.
Mastering Emotions by Changing Your Thoughts
We typically believe that our emotions are triggered by our circumstances. Something good or bad happens, and we consequently feel happy or upset. In actuality, what our circumstances trigger are certain thoughts in us. There are typically distortions in these thoughts that are triggered by disruptive emotions. By eliminating these distortions, we untwist our thinking, and our emotions come back into balance.
Having the Inner Conversation
Exemplary leaders have not just outer conversations with their people, but inner conversations. The inner conversation is the silent emotions and thoughts that you shape among people in the room. But sensing and shifting the emotional energy in the room, executives can rapidly activate a high-performance state in their team.