Soft Skills: “Emotional Regulation” is Key to Professionalism
There is a recognised shortage of soft skills in the workplace. Today, business leaders crave attributes such as the ability to work under pressure, keeping calm, and effective teamwork. One soft skill has been overlooked for too long. It is key to coherence and teamwork: it is emotional regulation. We all find it easy to let our emotions run away with us, but as you will see, it is unproductive for individuals and for groups.
What do we mean by emotional regulation in the work place?
It is how we can control emotion, regulate it and channel emotion effectively. Employees can learn to keep their emotions in check in a tough work environment. Thankfully, it is also possible to encourage positive use of emotion for the betterment of the individual’s mental health and for the work environment. Until recently, the impact of emotion and regulation (and lack of) was ignored in workplace studies. In 2000, a seminal paper demonstrated its importance and things started to change.
Emotional regulation as a soft skill
Emotional regulation may not be the first attribute that comes to mind when thinking about soft skills. Indeed, it may be way down your list of priorities. However, now may be time to reconsider its importance. Poor emotional regulation in the workplace may display itself as one or more of the following:
- Taking criticism personally and / or blaming others
- Losing emotional control when confronted with a difficult customer / colleague
- A general negative attitude that rubs off onto others
- Picking fights / lashing out – a feeling of resentment towards others
Negative thoughts can be contagious in the way a virus is contagious. When they take hold, these attributes negatively affect teamwork and morale. Employees argue and blame and will wish to come together to solve a problem. Put simply, poor emotional regulation has a negative impact on your business.
How you can promote emotional regulation
We are implored and expected to treat each other fairly and with kindness at work. Tempers will sometimes fray and arguments ensue – it’s only normal. We can’t control how others act towards us, but we can all control how we react to how we are treated.
The managers of the past took little interest in the emotional needs of his or her employees, but times are changing. Even the most stoic manager can promote good emotional regulation and provide emotional support for employees. This does not simply mean being a shoulder to cry on; not everybody is capable of doing that. Sometimes, a pragmatic approach to understanding your employees’ needs is all it takes. How can you do this? Firstly, by acknowledging it – not ignoring it – and letting the employee know that you take their issue(s) seriously. Talk to them and see if there is anything that can be done to alleviate the situation. A listening ear may be all it takes, but sometimes it is not enough.
You may not be able to do anything about the situation (for example, if there are problems at home). You may not be able to help them solve their problems, but you can help them channel their emotions. You can help employees to handle them and use them productively for the long-term benefit of everyone – themselves included. This solution, available now, is to engage with Bookboon’s eLibrary Solution with a broad variety of eBooks.
Bookboon’s range of soft skills training eBooks allows employees to work at their own pace and in a manner with which they are comfortable. It is to everybody’s benefit, the individual employee especially, to foster a good working environment. When employees are able to keep their emotions under control, teamwork is more likely. You will also be giving your employees some valuable transferable life skills.
Here you can read more about the importance of soft skills:
- Interpersonal Skills: Why They are Crucial for Your Company’s Success
- Coaching & Mentoring: Why These Soft Skills of Employees Matter
- Leadership Skills: How to Use Leadership Theory to Your Advantage
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