We’ve all had bad days at the office: the boss made a bad decision, your coworker stabbed you in the back, your manager took credit for your work, a client canned a project you poured your soul into at the very last second or the printer has a personal feud against you. Whatever is driving you up the office walls, you have to remember the hardest thing of all – you’re an adult, and this is a professional environment. Act like it, even if you’re the only professional around.
Yes, it’s harsh, and a lot easier said than done, but unfortunately, that’s the way adulting goes. So, what should you keep in mind when your emotions start to… “show off”?
- Be careful of what you say
When you act while your emotions are heightened you’re more likely to say things you don’t really mean or that can harm your career in future. Don’t gossip with your colleagues. Yes, you’re blowing off steam, but there’s a chance (a big one) that what you say can get back to whomever you’re talking about and lead to bigger issues. Never ever complain on social media. Your boss and HR, regardless of what you think about them, can use it too.
Heightened emotions increase your heart rate, adrenalin and body temperature. When you feel these triggers starting to flip, take a deep, slow breath. And again. If you can calm your heart rate down, you’ll have better control of your emotions. Do meditation exercises at your desk to help you calm down.
- Take a step back
Count to ten in your head and assess the situation. If it’s possible, leave the room and step outside or excuse yourself to the bathroom where you can rid the tension in your body. Get a better view of the situation and understand how and why you’re reacting or overreacting (yes, it happens) to the situation the way you are.
- Ask for help
Speak to your manager, HR or your mentor about what’s upsetting you and ask them for guidance or assistance. If you have trouble with a coworker, speak to them in a calm environment or address the situation with your immediate supervisor. Remember, nothing will change if nobody knows what’s going on. Also, by losing your grip on your emotions, you’ll look like the problem.
By no means should you be a robot. Don’t bottle your emotions up or try to seem as if nothing is getting to you – you’re human, being emotional is in our nature. However, react in moderation. You need to manage your emotions accurately. You cannot scream at Nancy when she asks you for the umpteenth time how to work a spreadsheet or cry when Themba says your creative campaign is missing something. Ask them why and ask them to explain to you what they need or why the direction has changed.
If you reacted poorly, apologise. Immediately. Simply say, “I’m sorry, I reacted badly”. You should apologise to both the person receiving your outburst and those who saw it. Showing that you are aware of how you reacted and that you don’t approve of such behaviour will make a great difference on how you appear to others. However, apologising is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. You can’t lose control of your emotions on a daily basis, say sorry and think it’s OK. Always treat your colleagues with respect and how you want to be treated.
At the end of the day, if you are finding it harder and harder to manage your emotions, consider speaking to a professional outside of your work environment. But, when all else fails, is it not time to find new employment? Speak to our GetMore consultants about helping you find the solution you need. We can locate life coaches and therapists, or help you find a new job. Call 084 11 438 48, visit www.getmore247.co.za or use the GetMore Plus app.