Saturday, October 24, 2015

Using Your Emotional Strength

Emotions make up who we are. In the workplace we tend to suppress what we're feeling since most often it is perceived as a weakness. But how can we take our emotion and use it as a strength? 

As women, we are sometimes questioned of our ability to lead and take risks. The use of our intuition can be mistaken for lack of confidence. This can be detrimental especially when trying to accelerate up the corporate ladder. 

I've learned to not suppress my emotion but translate what I'm feeling prior to speaking. Our intuition is usually right but when we start a sentence with "I feel" or "I can sense,"  we lose our audience's attention. 

So try and pause when you get that gut feeling to articulate what you want to say. For instance, your colleague suggests a solution to a problem and the instant she has finished her sentence, your stomach clinches. Rather than stating "I don't think this is a good idea," try and figure out why your stomach clinched in the first place. You reach into your memory bank and unlock that time when we mixed up two products by trying that process she suggested. 

You're then able to state "If I may, the last time we did this, we didn't have a successful outcome. What other options do we have?" You're able to remind the team of what happened and by asking a probing question, you don't immediately shoot down your colleague's idea. 

The other issue we have with emotion is that it is easily surfaced. No matter how hard I try, if I'm defeated, exhausted, mourning, or just plain stressed out, I cannot hide it. 

What I've learned during these times is to stay invisible. I may not be able to call out sick but I can limit my interactions and focus on my objectives for the day. 

The emotions we discount are the negative ones, even though they help us grow the most. But think about how the positive emotions have shaped your life. 

-When you're being daring and willing to jump off a 20ft post in front of 100s of strangers. 

-When you're energetic on a project and get your team to accomplish the goal three weeks ahead of schedule. 

-Or even when you're overconfidence leads you to walk into your managers office asking for the top project on the site. 

We are born with emotion and we do have the ability to use them as strengths. However, with gender differences in the workplace and a fear of showing emotions, it's critical to use them wisely. Sometimes your intuition is right- don't 
be afraid to use it as a guide. 

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