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Annette Quinn Managers: It's time to manage your emotions at work

I recently ran an Influencing Course and we had an interesting conversation about bringing personal problems into work. We are all human and it would be impossible to leave all concerns and worries with your coat when you arrive at work. However, what can be done is controlling behaviour, so the negative emotions aren’t passed on to others with negative words and behaviour.

The delegates on the course were there for various reasons, but the common theme was handling difficult, aggressive and angry managers. They had all encountered one in their career who had treated them so badly that it impacted how they dealt with any person who they perceived to be aggressive.

I think that is so sad, and I wonder if all of those managers are aware how their behaviour has affected their team members? I am not so naïve as to not know that some managers love to frighten their staff, but I know some are shocked when they get feedback that they have ‘scary bark’. So what do you do if you discover, or have an inclination, that you may be one of those managers?

Managing your emotions

The first step it to be aware of your feelings and then respond to that. I would suggest that most people know when something is annoying them. As humans, we still have that instinct and I know when I am upset, annoyed, worried, because I feel it, long before I know it – but that could be just me! However, it is important that you should become more self-aware. It is one the pillars of emotional intelligence and, when we have it, we are well on the way to managing our behaviours and emotions. Once you have this, you are well on the way.

Here are a few tips to help you manage yourself and your emotions and give you the reputation as a manager who is consistent, firm and fair.

Recognise your triggers

We should know the early signs of our anger. If you know that you are the type that ruminates on an argument from home, or are short tempered when tired, learn to leave it at the door when you walk into work. You can choose your behaviour. It may be your first instinct to shout, but that doesn’t mean it’s the correct one. The old wives tale of count to ten when you’re angry, is worth remembering here.

When you get angry

We are human, it happens, but just because we start to get angry, doesn't mean we should just continue. Stop, take a deep breath, and change your posture. This interrupts the angry thoughts and will help you re focus and respond in a more suitable manner.

When you can’t stop the anger

It happens. Sometimes, despite all the tricks we try, we can’t stop ourselves and it comes out in an inappropriate way. I think the best way to deal with this is to apologise. Some people think apologising is weak, I think it is one of the bravest things anyone can do and I know from experience that those managers who apologise, gain a lot of respect from their people. However, it’s important to remember that you can’t keep doing it and then apologise, that way you lose respect and sincerity. If you find you keep losing your temper, taking out your personal issues at work, then you may need more help, such as Anger Management.

If you would like to understand about how your role as a manager influences your team, our Management Development Programme may be the perfect solution. Find out more here.


Annette Quinn, Performance Management Facilitator

In my series of blogs I will be taking a look at performance management, in particular Time Management, and providing tips on how to develop your skills.

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