Don’t be afraid of feelings in the workplace

“Don’t get emotional—this is strictly business.” How many times has that phrase been uttered by managers and leaders over the years?  That’s the question that Scott and Ken Blanchard ask in their first column just published in the winter issue of Training Industry Quarterly. They explain that, “while managers often ask employees to take a detached view of the work environment, the reality is that feelings play a large role in performance.”  The two Blanchards recommend that, “instead of avoiding feelings, managers should be embracing them.  They are a key driver of performance.”

How is your organization doing?

Blanchard and Blanchard go on to explain that to create a passionate work environment, leaders need to address 12 work environment factors. Drawing on the company’s employee work passion research, the Blanchards point out that employee perceptions of what is happening in each of these areas will lead to positive or negative feelings and performance intentions including whether or not to:

  • Actively endorse the organization as a good place to work
  • Perform above and beyond the basic requirements of the job
  • Think beyond themselves and striving for win/win solutions
  • Go the extra mile when it is necessary to get the job done
  • Stay with the organization long term

Getting started

As the Blanchards explain, “unless you engage people emotionally, you won’t tap into their discretionary energy and achieve outstanding organizational performance.”

They also remind us that, “As leaders, we have to stop trying to create sterile organizations where people are expected to check their feelings at the door. Instead, we need to view feelings as a positive force that can take performance to a higher level.” 

Looking to begin creating a more fulfilling work environment for your employees?  Here are three good ways to get started.

  1. Set clear goals for each of your employees.  This is the foundation that has to be in place.  Clear goals help address the need for performance expectations. They also set the stage for discussions about autonomy and necessary resources.
  2. Once goals are in place, set up regular meetings to see how things are going. Praise progress and provide support or redirection as necessary.  Regular meetings address the need for feedback and connectedness.
  3. Finally, make sure there are no surprises at performance review time.  People should have a clear sense of what is expected of them and should be receiving feedback all along on how they are doing.  Performance reviews, when done right, are less about feedback and redirection than they are about celebrating accomplishments and planning for the future.  Performance reviews address the need for achievement, recognition, and growth.

Leadership makes a difference

As Scott and Ken Blanchard conclude, “Emotional management is a core skill that contributes to a high performing organization. Leadership sets the tone of the workplace culture.” To read more about their thinking, check out the complete column at Training Industry Quarterly.

3 thoughts on “Don’t be afraid of feelings in the workplace

  1. FYI, the use of “the Blanchard’s” in this article appears to be incorrect in every instance. The use of an apostrophe denotes possession, not pluralization. It should be “the Blanchards” – except in the case of a possessive, in which case it should be “the Blanchards’ ____”.

  2. Reblogged this on CoachStation and commented:
    I have had many discussions over the years with various leaders about emotions and their place in business. For the most part we have agreed to disagree! Having emotions is being human…showing emotions is normal…being overly emotional, adds little value at work.

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