How to Manage Tensions


One question I am consistently asked is: How do I manage tensions?

What people really want to know is how to be emotionally intelligent. People don’t know how to navigate their emotional energy, especially in the workplace – and no wonder.

The old stories – like “there’s no crying in baseball” and “check your emotional bags at the door” – are outdated. Using feelings to our advantage is a necessary paradigm shift.

We are always in an emotional state, and there is a way to let your emotions feed your cognitive abilities. There’s no longer a place for discounting our emotions in the workplace. Actually, it’s when we withhold our emotions that tensions grow. Therefore, it’s really important that we feel what we’re feeling because we’re all feeling something all of the time!

The New Paradigm for Emotions in the Workplace

The new paradigm is to welcome our emotions into the workplace, to let their energy flow, and to use the wisdom gained from them to our advantage.

A simple process of noticing the feelings, mentioning them, then easily flowing with them is an invitation to directly inhabit our experience. This is very simple, but not always easy, as we’ve been taught to resist and restrain our emotions.

When I’m speaking to one person or to groups large and small, there are two questions I ask, and the responses are always the same—

When I say, “Raise your hand if you think that emotions are a natural part of being a human being and that emotional intelligence is absolutely necessary in leadership and the workforce,” 100% of hands are in the air.

But when I say, “Raise your hand if you are comfortable feeling your emotions and being around others who are feeling theirs,” no hands are in the air. Even when the size of the group is 500+ people, only maybe 4 or 5 hands will go up  – that’s just 1 percent (or less).

What Happens When We Repress Our Emotions

When we repress our emotions, we disconnect from ourselves and others.

A great example of this is feeling stressed about a project and not saying anything about it. The stress grows and escalates, and then some not-so-effective behaviors appear – tense behaviors.

Have you ever seen someone “overreact” to a situation? They’ve been resisting their emotional energy and increased their tension. This is counterproductive and an innovation killer.

There are amazing health benefits from reducing your level of tension by letting your feelings flow – but, that’s another post…

For more on acknowledging, recognizing, and expressing your emotions, read my book Evolution Revolution: Conscious Leadership for an Information Age, now available on Amazon.

From Chapter 5: Emotional Intelligence 101…

“A consistent characteristic of conscious leaders is that they possess the maturity to navigate their emotions. No matter the topic — facilitating or coaching — inevitably the question arises: ‘Where do emotions fit into this?’ My response? ‘Everywhere!’

The healthiest thing you can do is feel your feelings and be present with others while they feel theirs. Being with your emotions is a skill, and you can be a master.”

This article was originally published on June 4, 2016, and has been updated