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Top Three Reasons People Don’t Show Emotions at Work

Top Three Reasons People Don’t Show Emotions at Work

When you think about expressing emotions, what comes to mind? Maybe it’s celebrating the new year, showing love to your partner, or having a verbal fight with a close friend. Now, let’s think about expressing emotions at work – what do you envision? 

If you drew a point-blank, you’re not alone. Showing emotions in the workplace has become an increasingly important topic. In the past century, we experienced the Industrial Revolution, where assembly line workers in factories simulated robotic work. If somebody showed emotions in this environment, they saw it as preventing the team’s overall productivity and efficiency

In the modern world, jobs have now evolved; emotional intelligence is one of the top ten skills required for the future workforce. In fact, learning to deal with emotions is the key to effectively leading people. Now that people understand that emotions matter, society has to work together to bring humanity back into the workplace and make people comfortable bringing their emotions to work.  

While it may seem simple, there are a few common barriers to showing emotions at work. Let’s take a look at the top three reasons why.

1. Fear of Failure


When envisioning a leader, do you picture a “perfect” individual who is fearless and never makes mistakes? If yes, it’s time to adopt a new vision. The truth is, nobody is perfect. We cannot expect perfection from leaders, and leaders need to welcome failure as a learning opportunity. Both team members and leaders need to accept that mistakes are bound to happen. The number of errors made should not define failure, but the lesson learned from each mistake. It is easy to commit a mistake and brush it under the rug for no one to see. From a leaders’ perspective, covering their mistakes may seem like the right thing to do. They may think, “If I make a mistake, then am I even worthy of my position? Let’s pretend that did not happen”. Following this mindset will result in an unhealthy mentality and feeling the pressure to be perfect.

So how should a leader approach their failures? Our answer is to acknowledge and reflect; this shows self-awareness and a willingness to improve. When the leader demonstrates that mistakes are bound to happen, the mentality will trickle down to the team. Bouncing back and learning from mistakes will develop resilience. By overcoming a fear of failure, teams will emerge resilient and self-aware. Moreover, leaders will be cultivating a culture of learning and not being afraid to fail, sparking innovation within the team.  

2. Vulnerability as a Weakness


Embedded in the false image of a “perfect” leader lies a robust and fearless persona. We picture our superiors always to know what to do. Take the example of a military leader – if they say, “I’m scared to cross the fence!” how will that impact the team performance? Similarly, if your company’s CEO states they are uncertain about meeting the revenue goals for this year, how will the team react?

In The Future of Work Depends on Emotional Intelligence, we mentioned letting go of the corporate persona. The corporate persona is a personality displayed at work. With the changing workplace, we are now getting a glimpse of team members’ personal lives, especially in virtual meetings. Now more than ever, leaders need to ease off their corporate personas and unveil their true selves. Especially in these times of uncertainty, it is normal to feel uneasy and unsure. We need to regulate the message showing vulnerability is not a weakness but rather a demonstration of courage

Let’s return to the example of the CEO stating their uncertainty about achieving revenue goals. While it may be tough to admit that the company may not be heading the direction they wish, displaying this vulnerability creates trust within the team. Vulnerability is one of our greatest measures of courage. Brene Brown defines vulnerability as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. It is the willingness to show up and to be seen, even when there are no guarantees. In essence, its leadership. Leaders need to be transparent with their team to build confidence and stimulate problem-solving and decision making. For example, when a leader says they are uncertain about the company meeting its financial goals and asks for help from the team, it provides the team with the perfect opportunity to think critically and brainstorm solutions to solve the problem while simultaneously supporting the leader.

3. Is it Only Me?

The last common reason why leaders refrain from showing emotions links to authenticity and comparison. If no one else is showing emotions, what will happen when the leader does? Will team members believe them, or worst, will it negatively affect and demotivate the team? It may be common to think, “If only I am feeling this way, are my emotions even valid?” 

You will never know how others feel until you ask. Please do not try to predict or assume your team members’ emotions; the purpose is to normalize showing emotions at work. Think of emotions as data, not as good or bad. It can provide you with interesting information about how people or ideas are triggering you. With that data, you can make more conscious choices of how you will respond or act. 

If no one else is showing emotions at work, then it presents the perfect opportunity to begin. Start small; it can be simple as showing appreciation for your team members. Recognition can go a long way and encourage them to do the same, kickstarting a chain reaction. While it may be intimidating to be the first one to begin expressing emotions at work, every journey starts with a single step. Emotions show others the “why” behind your ideas – your motivations or concerns behind your thoughts.

It’s Time to Show Emotions at Work


Showing emotions at work will lead to improved well-being and an overall emotionally intelligent workforce. Hiding feelings at work can lead to higher stress levels, health problems, and poor communication. Besides, hiding emotions at work will contribute to suppressed emotions; emotions run in the background during our everyday lives at work. If we choose not to acknowledge or cope with our emotions, there will be a reverse effect. For instance, if we feel angry and do not cope with the feeling, the anger will snowball and intensify the next time we feel angry. 

Emotional intelligence plays an essential role in the workplace. It can improve leadership skills, develop interpersonal relationships, and assist in decision making. If you would like to learn more about emotional intelligence, see where your emotional intelligence stands with our emotional intelligence assessments. We offer both leadership and workplace assessments, with a personalized debrief from a certified EQ coach. To continue to transform your workplace into an emotionally intelligent one, you can also check out our special packages, which offer a unique combination of a workshop, retreat, EQ assessment, and/or online classes. 

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How To Identify Your Strengths

How To Identify Your Strengths

Everyone has a natural aptitude for something.  

What are your strengths?

  • Working with numbers
  • Detail-oriented
  • Drawing pictures
  • Teaching children
  • Growing plants
  • Problem-solving
  • Caring for those less fortunate than you
  • Music
  • Athletics
  • Empathy
  • Writing
  • Working with your hands.

Identifying your greatest strengths and building your life based on them is essential for your overall happiness and success. Without knowing how to discover your strengths and maximize them, you may waste a lot of time doing the wrong things.

Can you imagine spending years of hard work only to realize at the end that you have poured your time and energy (not to mention money) into the wrong things?

Many people are not even aware of their strengths.  So, the question is: How do you discover your natural talents?

Here are three easy steps to help you determine your natural aptitude

Step 1: Tasks that are easy
  • Write down a list of those things that you do that seem easy for you.
  • These are the things that you can do that seem almost effortless.
  • Often, the tasks that are easy for us are those where we have a special aptitude.
Step 2: “Where did the time go?” tasks
  • Make a list of those things you do where time just seems to fly by.
  • When you are doing these activities, you may look up and realize that several hours have passed without you even realizing it.
  • This is a good clue to activities where you have natural talent.
Step 3: Tasks that make you happy
  • Finally, write all the activities that make you happy.
  • These are things that make you smile.
  • These are the tasks you would do just for yourself, with no promise of gain, just because they’re fun, interesting and fulfilling.

After writing out all three lists, find the common activities.

These are likely to be the areas of your natural aptitude and talent.  These are the areas of greatest potential for you.

Imagine if you could spend most of your time developing and playing at something that makes you happy, where time flies and where it’s easy for you.  Wow!

So, now that you know what your natural talent is, try to find or carve out a role that draws on these strengths every day. Organizing your life around your strengths will make your life more productive and fulfilled.

Not sure where your strengths and weaknesses lie in terms of your emotional intelligence? Try our free 15-question quiz to measure your level of emotional intelligence.

To learn more about emotional intelligence and how it benefits your organization, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of resources, and much more!

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How to Avoid Decision Paralysis

How to Avoid Decision Paralysis

Have you ever found yourself lost for an answer when your friend simply asks you,  “Where do you want to go for dinner?”  There are just so many places to choose from. So, how do you make a better decision?

You could invite your friend to come over to your house, as your fridge is stocked full of fresh vegetables and all the toppings needed to make a great salad; but you also love the triple cheese, deluxe pizza from the pizza place down the street. Sometimes, you may even find yourself shrugging off the decision with no idea where or what to suggest.  If this situation sounds like something you would find yourself in, don’t worry, you are not alone.

Simply defined, decision paralysis is the act of over-analyzing and overthinking situations to the point where no decision is made, and thus, no action is taken.  And the fact of the matter is decision paralysis is more common than you think.

In today’s society, we are bombarded with choices upon choices, ultimately overwhelming us rather than simplifying our daily lives. Stepping into a coffee shop alone can inundate some people with countless choices to select from for a simple cup of Joe.

Alternatively, many of us have an incessant need to always make the ‘right’ decision. Our perfectionist society has not made this gnawing necessity any easier to overcome, as we have become conditioned to fear making a mistake and worse yet, fail.

Regardless of the reason, there are many causes of decision paralysis.  Therefore, not only is it important to focus on what causes it, but also on how to manage it, and eventually prevent ‘decision-making stagnation.’

Almost everyone will experience a form of analysis paralysis in their career and/or personal life. Therefore, here are a few productivity tips that will help you get started on the path of making a concrete decision, and make whatever conclusion you choose, the right one.

Strategies for Overcoming Decision Paralysis

1. Prioritize The Importance of The Decision

Many decisions you have to make on a daily basis are not actually that important. For example, deciding where you want to go for dinner is probably not the most pressing decision you will have had to make in your day. Ever heard the saying ‘pick your battles’? Now relate that to your decision-making process. It is important to prioritize your decisions. Can you imagine a life where all your daily decisions required you to do extensive research? You would be exhausted by your first waking hour! That is why identifying and analyzing how important any given situation is, is critical when prioritizing decisions.

Decision Matrix

One way to do this is by creating a decision matrix.  Developing a decision matrix, will help you evaluate and prioritize a list of options. “The matrix is useful for looking at large masses of decision factors and assessing each factor’s relative significance.”  It forces you to brainstorm the criteria needed to make a good decision and then asks you to assign a relative weight to each criterion.  Once you have weighed the criterion, it asks you to assess each alternative against the criterion and then multiply each option’s ranking by its criterion weight.  The last step involves adding up the points for each option, and “the option with the highest score will not necessarily be the one to choose, but the relative scores can generate meaningful discussion and lead the team toward consensus.”

2. Set Goals

Setting goals is a major step in our decision-making process. Knowing what results you want is a powerful tool, and should be used when making a decision. One of the main reasons why some are so indecisive is because they don’t know what their end goals are.

Imagine someone waking up in the morning, getting ready, heading out the door, and aimlessly walking about – they don’t know where they are going, so they just walk for hours-on-end trying to figure out where to be and what to do.

Setting goals help us to narrow our thinking so we have a clear direction of where to go and what to do when we arrive. Remember to set S.M.A.R.T goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

When our goals are unclear, analysis paralysis may occur because we have to overthink everything we have to do, rather than concentrating on the main objectives. Setting goals help clear our minds of external clutter, and instead, focus our energy on getting stuff done.

3. Set a Deadline

Setting deadlines, much like setting goals, is critical for preventing decision and analysis paralysis. Every day we are presented with decisions that need to be made. Some of these decisions are pressing, and some can be put on the back burner.

To make life a little bit less complicated, consider setting deadlines for matters that definitely require your final ruling. Setting deadlines that are closer in present-time, and have a definitive end-date, help accomplish tasks more efficiently because they take away any ambiguity.

In turn, this helps minimize the possibility of over-analysis and maximize productivity by urging you to come to a conclusion versus overthinking your choices.

4. Decisions are Often Not Permanent

No one is perfect; we all make mistakes. More times than not, decisions aren’t clear-cut with a right or wrong answer.

Comedian Louis CK puts an end to nagging decision-making obstacles by stating, “If you’re 70% happy with a decision, just go for it.”

Are you someone who overthinks certain matters that should only require a quick decision?  If so, you are in good company.

It is important to remember, though, that sometimes, making a decision and having a final verdict is simply good enough. Spending more time on deciphering between choices can be a time sucker, and as Elizabeth Gilbert said “done is better than good.”

5. Take Action

There is no doubting the importance of mentally sifting through ideas and thoughts prior to taking action. Some, however, get stuck in this process. If you think of your mind as a power tool, imagine the countless possibilities that you could tackle once you find your mind’s additional source of power and potential!

When people get stuck in rehearsing their ideas in their minds, decision paralysis, inhibiting action, often occurs because ideas sit longer and longer, becoming stagnant.

Take action.  Call up a friend, tell them your ideas – the more people that know about your ideas, the more you will feel accountable for actually taking action. The more you articulate your positions, the more energy you give them, and the more alive they will become. Making the decision to take action creates momentum for even more actions to follow. If you want to learn more about how to take action, we have a customized experience for you!

To learn more about emotional intelligence and how it benefits your organization, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of resources, and much more!

If you need help leading your organization to success, book a call with us here; we’d love to listen and provide support in any way we can.

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The Choice is Yours: Choose Change

The Choice is Yours: Choose Change

At one point or another, all of us have had something happen in our life that made us spiral down into a world of despair.  In that dark place, it felt like we didn’t have the strength to dig ourselves out of our black hole. We felt pathetic, worthless, and perhaps even out of control.  We were stuck.

Well, when something bad happens to us, we all have a choice…although in tough times, it might not feel like we do. But something we must remember when going through tough times: all things are difficult before they are easy.

The choice is whether you can accept or resist the situation that has happened to you.

If you accept it, it means you take the position – what is, is.  You may not like the situation…tough times reveal that you have the power to change your set of circumstances and then take action to change it.

Alternatively, you can choose to resist the situation.  If you resist, you can feel angry that this situation has happened to you.  Feelings of revenge, guilt, depression, jealousy, or sadness may also appear.  You feel like a victim.

Being a victim comes with a price, but it also comes with a payoff. If being a victim didn’t have a payoff, we would not do it.  So, what’s the payoff?  What’s the price?

Payoff of Victim?

  • Sympathy – people feel bad for us.
  • Attention – it brings attention to us, as people are focusing on our misfortunes.
  • The excuse of playing small – we are able to continue to play small and don’t have tried anything different/scary.

Price of Victim?

  • Stuck – we feel stuck and helpless.
  • Waste of time and energy – nothing happens, and it wastes our time and energy.  Being stuck does not serve us.
  • Unhappiness – we are unhappy with our life

Critical thinker Werner Erhard’s pioneering ideas are stimulating academic conversations in leadership and integrity.  Erhard believes that everyone has to be given the opportunity to be responsible for your own circumstances.

Being responsible is not about blaming others or feeling guilty. But rather, taking personal responsibility is about taking a stand that you are equal to your condition in life.

If you are equal to the condition, if you can be responsible for your own life, you can do something about it. If you are the victim of your life, you really can’t do anything about it.

Therefore, by taking responsibility, you are taking a stand that you have the power to bring about the life you want.

If you do not feel that you are bigger than your problem/situation, then the problem/situation takes over your life.

However, if you take the stance that you have the power to do something about your life, and as difficult as it may be, you do have the capabilities to change your circumstances.

So, what choice are you going to make today?

Are you going to choose to accept your situation and take the stand that you have the power to change it?  Or are you going to resist it, feel like a victim and play small?  The choice is yours.

To learn more about thriving through change using emotional intelligence, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of resources, and much more!

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How to be Conscious of Consensus

How to be Conscious of Consensus

The internet has revolutionized how we connect with each other. Today, we are no longer limited by borders, geography, or proximity. In the business world, it has democratized how customers interact with organizations. Just think about how quickly some companies will respond to a negative tweet. But if the internet has now given everybody a voice, what do you think that says about the power and potential of consensus at work when it comes to your business?

Crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo show the remarkable results that can be achieved from crowdsourcing, which can be seen as a form of consensus, in the fact that whether a product or idea gets enough funding depends on how many people are willing to back it. The project’s very survival depends on whether it can build enough consensus.

Consensus Decision Making

A consensus is about the majority. So that means there can and often will be a minority, however small, that may not agree fully.  But these people are not your enemies. Keep in mind that consensus decision making can also involve compromise, and this is where the difference between agreement and consent becomes important. Someone can give full consent to a decision without having full agreement. Just think how sometimes you may go along with a decision (full consent), even if it’s not your first choice (full agreement).

A core concept of consensus decision making is that, as a team, you can come up with more ideas and perspectives than you would on your own. 2 heads are better than 1, and that is especially true when it comes to brainstorming sessions, which are integral to consensus decision making. With that in mind, full participation is necessary in order to have the most effective team.

When using consensus decision making, the first step is to set the decision rule. So basically,  the level of consensus needed to go through with a decision. Will it be a unanimous agreement? Simple majority? A supermajority threshold (for example, >70%)? There are many options, so it is important to choose the most relevant one for your team.

Once the decision rule is set, it becomes all about the ideas. Of the many consensus decision-making processes, the Nominal Group Technique is one of the most widely used and straightforward.

It follows four steps:

1. Generating Ideas

2. Recording Ideas

3. Discussing Ideas

4. Voting on Ideas

After the opening statement, which introduces the topic and objectives, comes the Generating Ideas step, which is done silently as each group member comes up with their own ideas independently and writes them down. This is done to ensure every idea gets equal consideration, regardless of whose it is. The second step, Recording Ideas, is done by the moderator in a round-robin feedback session. The moderator goes member by member, writing each idea down, repeating the process until all ideas are written down. The third step, Discussing Ideas, is intended to provide clarity to the idea so that everyone can see the logic behind it. The fourth step, Voting on Ideas, is done privately, where each group member ranks the ideas based on their preference. The moderator will then tally up the results to find which ideas are the most popular amongst the group.

The consensus building process steps aim to be cooperative and collaborative and is the most effective when everybody participates and has their say. The greater the breadth of ideas, the better it works. Consensus decision-making methods will give you a more well-rounded perspective of the situation, with the hopes of making your decisions more strategic and successful.

To learn more about decision making and emotional intelligence in the workplace, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of resources, and much more!

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