Emotions in the Workplace: Choose to Respond, Not React
One of the stereotypes that women have had to overcome in the workplace is that of being too driven by emotions or being too emotionally reactive. As women, our feelings and natural tendencies bring strong components to the workplace. But no one — man or woman — can afford to let his or her emotions evoke “reactions” ... rather, we must “respond” in order to get the respect we deserve and the results we desire.
Next time you find yourself starting to react in a situation, ask yourself a question — “What do I really want? What’s the desired outcome?” When you remain focused on the outcome you want, when you’re imagining the solution you desire, then you’re not stewing over the obstacles and challenges surrounding the problem you have. This helps you respond in a way that gets everyone around you focused on the solution, too.
Reactions are emotional, unconscious, unaware behavior. Responses are conscious, aware behaviors. When you’re knee-deep in worry about the finer points of a problem, it’s so easy for emotions to well up and turn into a reaction. And that can damage your credibility. But, by focusing on solution rather than problem, you’re seen as a problem solver — and that builds your credibility.
It takes time to acquire this new mind-set — especially if you’ve been a “reactor” for much of your life. So, in the meantime, practice identifying your first reaction to any sticky situation (you know — the one you’d regret later). Just pause and give yourself time to rethink how you can move your focus from the sticky issues embedded in the problem to the sweet solution you want. This will help you form an emotionally balanced response.
Respond rather than react, and you’ll preserve your reputation for being clearheaded. You’ll get the respect you deserve, and your credibility will continue to grow as you become highly regarded for being a go-to person who remains cool in even the most difficult situations.
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There are times when overt exclusion happens at my workplace. People tend to group together to avoid being a victim. It is human nature. Having been a victim myself, I have to get totally involved in some other distraction. Those who bully want to see an emotional meltdown. That just feeds the next fun gossip session. The vicious cycle repeats itself over and over. An active workout will take away that frustration. A break away from the pain provides relief. Take it easy on yourself. Others may be looking for victims.
I think we have ALL been in that place where we've wanted to react with someone at work. Sometimes, I'm get so frustrated, I pull up a blank Word Document and go to typing :-), of course its never saved or sent..LOL...my next solution to keep from losing it is to mentally say "Lord Jesus" over and over again in my head as to imply "Lord Jesus, please HELP ME before I go off on somebody"
Such good advice! I try and always take time - a few minutes or longer if possible, before I respond to a sticky situation so I don't let me emotions get the best of me. Sometimes 1-5 minutes can make a huge difference in your response- it gives you time to think rationally and not "react". Thank-you for this reminder!
An excellent and timely article. In the thick of an event, it really is a challenge to remain cool. The effort to perfect a new mind set however, I think is worth it, particularly as it could potentially damage credibility-an important trait to have.
Great article. But all ladies, never let them see you cry in the office. My mama always told me that. She said, if you have to cry, take it to the ladies room.
Very good article.
This is a great reminder. Thank you.
Great article and reminder to all humans, male or female..
I am one of those described in this article. It doesn't take much, when I have worries or concerns outside the office, to turn the waterworks on at work - even when my tears are unrelated to the situation at hand. I hate feeling the need to apologize for my 'meltdowns' because it doens't help and makes no sense to the person who witnesses these emations.
It's nice to know that this untimely emotional reaction can in time be overcome or mastered if you will.
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