Thursday 17 May 2018

How to stop absorbing the emotions of those around you

It’s one thing to act as an empath in the workplace - having an appreciation of how other people in your team feel is a rare gift that can help you motivate and get the best out of people - but when you work in a team environment it can be hard not to be impacted by the moods and emotions of your colleagues and team mates from time to time.

When the emotions are positive – happiness, excitement, pride – it’s easy to get carried along with the emotion and often this is a great motivator which drives us to be more productive. However, if your colleagues are in a negative or fragile emotional state, it can have a detrimental effect on your own work and the performance of the rest of the team.

This article from Psychcentral outlines six ways for you to ensure that you acknowledge, rather than absorb, the feelings and emotions of those around you. It includes recognising and labelling what you are feeling so that you can make rational rather than emotional decisions and consciously passing back the feelings to your colleague, leaving you emotionally free to focus on your own goals.

If you do find yourself getting wrapped up in the emotions of those around you, we want you to ask yourself the following questions:

Is this feeling mine?

Once you have acknowledged the emotion you are dealing with, you need to ask yourself, honestly, whether you have a reason to own it as your own. If the fear, anger, anxiety is yours, you can then get to the bottom of what is causing it – only when you have established why you are feeling that way can you take the steps necessary to get through it. Accept ownership, then deal with the cause.

Does distance help?

Often, absorbed feelings lessen once you have gained some physical distance from the suspected source. When you start to feel overcome with emotion, but are not sure why, move yourself into another office or take a short walk around the block. Does the feeling remain? If yes, you can accept the feeling as your own and deal with it. If distance brings you some relief, chances are the feeling belongs to someone else and it’s just rubbing off on you.

Am I still centred?

Stress and negative emotions can often be felt in your stomach, rather than your head. When you feel the stress and negativity starts to build, we want you to take a few moments to concentrate on your breathing. Exhale your stress and inhale only calm. This will quickly make you feel better and able to identify your true feelings.

Can I find a positive?

If you find yourself getting bogged down with a colleague’s emotional state, seek out for positive influence from other people around you. Call a friend or family member who is known for their positivity and use their emotions to help you find the positivity you need. Hope, faith and optimism are contagious – use it to help prevent absorption of the negative feelings of your team mates.

In a close knit team it can be hard not to take the knocks felt by those around us, but we hope that by acknowledging and recognising when this happens, you can easily get your emotions back on track and remain empathic towards your colleagues, but not be led by what they are feeling.

Wednesday 2 May 2018

How to cope with negative feedback

Let’s face it, none of us likes dealing with bad news – giving it, or receiving it. But when we’re in a work situation, negative feedback from customers and colleagues is pretty much inevitable. Knowing how to cope with adverse comments when we’re faced with them, helps ensure we use the feedback as a catalyst for positive change, rather than allowing it to overshadow our work, dampen our spirit and dent our confidence and self-belief.

The first hurdle to overcome is how to manage the occasion when the negative feedback is delivered to you. Chances are the feedback will come out of the blue when you’re least expecting it, but when it does happen, we want you to try and remember to do these three things:

Stop for a second

Our natural instinct when someone says something negative is to defend ourselves and to come back fighting! So much so that we often don’t actually take in what people are saying. Our first piece of advice is to take a moment to process what you've been told. This helps your response to be measured rather than emotional, which will lead to a better outcome, solution or action plan.

Reverse the lens

Whenever anyone shares negative feedback try to take a look at what’s been said from the other person’s point of view. What is it that has made sharing the feedback necessary? Be honest with yourself – could there be some basis in what they're saying? If you choose to ignore what is said, then you are cutting off the opportunity to find out what the basis for the feedback is, and that means there’s a likelihood that you may be missing out on an opportunity for self-improvement and growth.

Respond with kindness

Regardless of the news you’ve been given, thank the person for taking the time to share their feedback with you; summarise what they've said to you, so they know that you've heard their concerns; then reassure them that you'll consider the points raised. Letting someone know that you’ve listened to their views goes a long way to resolving whatever issues you’re facing – and it will definitely buy you some time to think about the feedback and what you’re going to do about it.

Once you’ve done all this, it’s time to think about how to actually deal with the feedback you’ve been given. The first thing to remember is that, in the vast majority of cases, people only give feedback because they care and want to see an improvement in the situation. This is a good basis to work from. By recognising this fact, we can start to reframe our thinking and see negative feedback as a positive opportunity for growth.

This blog post by Psychology Today contains some useful strategies for dealing with bad news, such as contextualising the situation and using it to effect transformative change. It’s especially important for you to take care of yourself during times of emotional upset. Eat well, avoid alcohol and get some exercise. Looking after your physical and mental health will help you navigate through your emotions to reach a positive conclusion to the feedback received.

And remember, you are not defined by this feedback. It is just one person’s view of a particular issue or situation. At the end of the day it is up to you to decide whether – on reflection and after examining the evidence – you choose to agree with them, or not.