RSS Guest Opinion: Emotion in the Workplace

This is the second guest article I’ve had the privilege of posting. Rick Schaufler is one of my team leaders, and the following story is being shared in an effort to teach us all about keeping our emotions in check at work. Following Rick’s discussion, I have offered a couple of my own personal observations. I invite readers to post any comments they have on this topic.  

As supervisors, we are hit all day long with various issues that come up, and in most cases the common denominator is emotion. For instance, you just dropped your kids off at school after a difficult morning with them. As you drive to work you try to figure out what you, as a parent, could have done differently. Feeling emotionally drained already you wonder how you’re even going to make it through the day. You walk through the door and hear phones ringing and learn that team members have called in sick. Sound familiar? While you struggle with all of the emotions that this scenario brings, understand that your organization expects you to be at the top of your game from the moment you step through the door. 

 The following is a specific example of how emotions can create stresses in the workplace. Let’s say you have an employee that is well liked by their peers and performs their job well, but they do something that violates organizational policy. You now are faced with having to conduct a written coaching session, but are conflicted because you have not had to address difficult issues with them in the past – you have become too emotionally aligned with them. 

 Emotionally aligning yourself with a teammate isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can be a definite hindrance if it causes you, as a leader, to hesitate in performing your supervisory responsibilities. It is important that each of us take the emotion out of our decisions by addressing those actions that created the violation.  While it is important to be emotionally aligned with your teammates in order to demonstrate compassion during particularly stressful times, it is equally important to know when to remove yourself from this emotional alignment in order to move your organizational objectives forward.

 I have a couple of brief observations about Rick’s comments. First, I think every successful team has strong emotional alignment. More often than not, winning teams are made up of individuals who genuinely like each other. However, these teams also understand that they must hold each other accountable in order to achieve significant results – It’s true in sports and it’s true in business.

 Second, being a compassionate leader is a good thing, but, being compassionate doesn’t mean one is weak. Knowing how to hold a teammate accountable for their mistakes and errors in judgment is critically important to the wellbeing of your organization. Who knows, you might just help a teammate reach heights they wouldn’t otherwise without your input!

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2 Responses to “Guest Opinion: Emotion in the Workplace”

  1. Erika Leaf says:

    Nice post Mitch and Rick. When emotions are handled with genuine compassion AND appropriate boundaries, as you describe, a workplace becomes a treasured asset to employees, a recruiting becomes much easier and work is a nice place to be for people at all levels of the organization. Managers with the personal development, ability to reflect, and clarity on these matters are a huge asset to the company culture and the bottom line. Thanks for your post.

  2. Mitch says:

    Erika, thank you for your heartfelt encouragement; we appreciate your comments and feedback.

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Home About Archive Mitch HagstromMitch Hagstrom
Executive Vice President
Chief Banking Officer
Pacific Continental Bank

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