Respect and trust are important to business leaders and managers, but earning them is increasingly emotionally demanding.
This is because authenticity has become such an important quality. Contemporary leadership means having to tell things from the heart and being both engaging and accessible.
This suggests a level of emotional openness which, in previous times, might have been perceived as ill-advised, or even inconceivable.
There is a catch, however, because this emotional blurring of boundaries between the genuine self and the workplace persona can make it harder to manage crises from your personal life in the workplace.
The Pitfalls of Openness
Liberating your feelings in the workplace to encourage trust in your leadership can be very exposing. Imagine a situation where you suffer something emotionally devastating, such as a bereavement, and you then must control the possible overspill of your feelings at work.
On the one hand, the workplace itself is a more emotionally complex arena to work in, on the other, you require sound coping mechanisms to be able to ride the wave of emotions that can come with unexpected personal upsets.
Of course, there are clear positives to being closer to your true self at work, particularly when it comes to leadership and gaining the trust and respect of others. But you must be able to nurture and direct your emotions at work, so that they work for you, not against you.
De-cluttering and Managing
Work is tough. Pressures and demands come from all directions, sometimes making it hard to prioritise tasks while coping with very real feelings arising from both personal and work-related circumstances.
Two clear strategies for coping involve de-cluttering your thoughts and managing your emotions.
To achieve clarity, it’s vital to get to grips with the myriad different thoughts and feeling bombarding you throughout the day, and often the night. This means understanding what things really matter, and which of them is urgent, and which is less so.
This is intimately connected with your own emotional intelligence – knowing and understanding who you are, and what you want.
Clarity provides you with more emotional space, which allows you greater manoeuvrability for managing your emotions at work.
This means learning how to express your emotions appropriately, and responding to others with considered feedback. It is about finding out how to meet emotional challenges more rationally, without losing that crucial sense of self that can work in your favour.
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