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Emotional awareness

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in Workplace Communication

“Let me start off by saying that I do enjoy reading most of your articles, especially those that have computer shortcuts or any other technology tidbits. Your article, ‘Manage your emotions at work,’ really shocked me because of its gender-driven nature and stereotype of women crying when men just get mad. I seriously doubt back when CEOs were mostly men that a periodical written for that demographic had an article on ‘How to stop swearing.’

“The last thing I would like to mention is that in the 20 years that I have been working, I have never seen a woman cry when it was inappropriate, and I am tired of men swearing.” —Carol A. Mullen, marketing coordinator, Vidiom Systems, Inc.

Dear Carol,

We couldn’t agree more that the last thing the world needs is more stereotypes, especially ones that cast women as hysterical. That’s not to say anything is wrong with crying or being emotional. In fact, it’s the easy access women tend to have to their emotions that make them so emotionally intelligent at work. What an edge!

The key for all workers—women and men—is to be more aware of our emotions. For example, many people cry (or withdraw or punch a wall) when they’re frustrated or angry, without immediately recognizing what they’re feeling. When you feel overwhelmed with emotion, stop a moment and think, “What exactly is angering or frustrating me? What do I need to do to resolve the situation?” Then refocus on the problem.

Meanwhile, we’ll try to be more mindful of those nasty stereotypes in future articles. We would like to help put them to rest, rather than perpetuate them.

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