WORKPLACE / APR. 12, 2014
version 2, draft 2

How To Develop Emotional Integrity in The Work Place

Keep your face toward sunshine and shadows will fall behind you. ~ Walt Whitman  

Maintaining a positive attitude in the midst of corporate machinations and mayhem is not always easy, but it can be done. It has nothing to do with taking out frustrations on innocent bystander office equipment, which has happened both in the cinema and real life over the course of the last few years. For some work related matters, the Human Resources Department of your company can be a big help; in other situations, you may be more or less on your own. Consider the following ideas to help you maintain a positive attitude and remain productive in the midst of chaotic distractions.

Find out what is really going on

Are you perceiving things correctly or are you looking at one side or just one part of a disturbing story? Remember the words of Dr Phil: “No matter how flat you make a pancake, it still has two sides.”  You may also be misinterpreting both intonation and meaning, which is particularly easy to do with online conversations. If things are getting heated via email, steer the conversation offline and meet face-to-face. This not only allows for focus and clarification, it is also harder to be discourteous to someone while either looking in their eyes or avoiding them.

Always consider the feelings of your co-workers

Stress and frustration can and often does get misdirected and vented onto the nearest available person. As either a manager or a co-worker you can be the recipient of someone else’s frustration or the deliverer of your own. Staying focused is a great lever for emotional control. Whatever is not relevant to the situation at hand should fall by the wayside. Realizing that deadlines and struggles work the same way on both sides of the boss-employee fence, helps to develop reasonable responses and expectations to potentially stressful situations.

Always look for the positive side of any situation

It’s there even if you can’t see it or don’t believe it is. This small alteration in thinking forces a positive attitude because it improves the current mood and subsequently the situation. For example if the fear or worry is about losing your job for whatever reason, focus on ways you can bring in more business and become more valuable to your company. Worry accomplishes nothing; positive thinking, which translates into positive energy, changes the world one small, quiet ripple at a time.

Building boundaries between your working and personal lives

Personal issues and imperfect workplace situations are facts of life that must be infused with integrity and professionalism. While outside forces are beyond our personal control, our reactions to them are not. Some examples might be: the cancellation of a favorite project without explanation after weeks of hard work; your marriage of many years breaks up suddenly; you are turned down for a raise you were promised; your boss assigns you more work without extra pay when you are already far behind on your responsibilities.

Professionalism and the management of emotions

Separating your personal and your work life will help you develop a professional persona and maintain a positive work environment for everyone around you to boot. Remember that no matter what the situation, your reaction is the one thing you can control. Negativity is toxic to productivity and if left unchecked spreads like a cancer. By recognizing the causes of your particular negative emotions, when they show themselves, you can immediately stop their destructive cycle. The longer into the cycle you permit yourself to lapse, the harder it will be to pull yourself out of the vortex.

Don’t forget about the most important weapon in your emotional arsenal; your attitude. Things cannot always go the way we planned and ultimately if they did, life wouldn’t really be that challenging anyway. Goals are not lost; they are redefined and that brass ring is still there, albeit a little further out of reach than before.

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