Emotions at Work

Our comparison of anabolic and catabolic leaders continues with an exploration of how aware they are of their own and others’ emotions, how they express their emotions and how they manage them in the work environment.

Anabolic leaders understand that emotions are important messengers and essential contributors to what it means to be human. As such, it’s neither practical nor useful to expect emotions to be left at the office door.

Oddly enough, though catabolic leaders typically say emotions have no place at work, when they become frustrated or are unpleasantly surprised, they often demonstrate a tremendous inability to apply that prohibition to their own emotions at work.

Awareness, expression and management of emotion are the three main aspects of emotional intelligence. In Energy Leadership™ terms, emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to distinguish, understand and have an awareness of how thoughts and feelings connect with outward displays and behaviors, as well as the ability to manage and express emotions constructively and help others do the same.

Let’s take a closer look at each of the components of emotional intelligence to determine how they manifest differently in catabolic and anabolic leaders.

Emotions at Work

Awareness of Emotions

Catabolic: These leaders are often oblivious to their own emotions and the emotions of others. In addition, they are unaware of the effect emotions have on themselves and others.

Anabolic: These leaders are aware of their own and others’ emotions and they’re able to step back and recognize that their emotions are not automatic. They know their emotions are shaped by their thoughts. Anabolic leaders get curious about the genesis and ramifications of their emotions. The look for any fear-fueled energetic blocks they are carrying in the form of limiting beliefs, interpretations, assumptions or gremlins. And they dig deeper for hidden opportunities by asking themselves:

“What thoughts are fueling my response?”

“What is my real objective?”

“What better choices do I have for achieving my goal?”

“In what other areas of my life
could I apply what I learned from this experience?”

Expression of Emotions

Catabolic: As we mentioned at the outset, many catabolic leaders think emotions should never be expressed at work. They don’t want others to see their emotions and don’t want to have to deal with the emotions of others. Their attempted suppression of emotions actually helps fuel overreaction and inappropriate expression (such as yelling and eye rolling) when contained unpleasant emotions reach the breaking point. Alas, when they do express emotions, they do so in ways that can make difficult situations even trickier.

Anabolic: Anabolic leaders understand that emotions are a part of each of us, and that they can’t be “turned off” at will. They know how to express their emotions in the appropriate time and fashion. By sharing, acknowledging and validating, they create an environment in which their colleagues feel valued and understood.


Management of Emotions

Catabolic: When exposed to the unexpected and other stressors, catabolic leaders become easily frustrated, angry and resentful. Because they have difficulty managing their own emotions, in times of crisis the people around them are inclined to look elsewhere for sound guidance and genuine support.

Anabolic: These leaders have the ability to manage their own moods constructively and help others do so as well. They also are able to control their own emotions, even during stressful situations. When they respond mindfully, instead of reacting automatically, their calm, confident, optimistic attitude promotes a work environment conducive to solutions and success.

Emotional intelligence (EI) is directly related to interpersonal effectiveness (IE). The higher your emotional intelligence, the more effective you’ll be as a leader and communicator in all areas of your life. Click here to download a special report that further explores the relationship between EI and IE.

To explore how your current level of emotional intelligence is affecting your interpersonal effectiveness, sign up below for a 60-minute complimentary coaching session.

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About djwlifecoach

I am retired from 40+ years of helping individuals and teams build lives and organizations they love. One of the great joys of my retirement from professional practice is having greater bandwidth to donate my professional and creative talents to support and promote animal and social welfare charities. During my 30 years as an organization transformation consultant, I served as a senior partner in four of the world’s largest, most prestigious global professional services firms. In 2005, I took a five-year sabbatical to find healing and peace because non-stop work had taken its toll. My recovery from burnout led to finding my purpose guiding others on their journeys. As a board-certified coach, author, consultant, radio host, Reiki Master and EFT/tapping practitioner, I share hope, possibilities and empowerment with the world. 111419 DJW Sid CH Pet Corner Photo ShootI help clients achieve rapid, extraordinary, sustainable results by connecting who they are with what they do, a connection often lost through stress and the sheer busy-ness of daily life. Courageous self-awareness and unconditional self-love lead to honest choices based on priorities that nurture you and those around you on a journey to wholeness. Decades in coaching, consulting, change management, organization development, human resources and mixed media artistic expression honed my business sense, professionalism, creativity, intuition, leadership and communication skills. The result? Practical tools that help you become more insightful, creative, committed, productive and fulfilled. Even the most dedicated and hard-working individuals can shift from frustration to a sense of futility when their values, passion, work, and lives become disconnected. One of the problems with not taking care of our health is that the effects of ignoring it are often slow to show up. We continue to juggle family responsibilities, work and finances until we lose ourselves, waking up one day 50 pounds heavier in body and soul—no good to ourselves or anyone else. I love working with people who are ready to take life-changing action to make their dreams a reality. At each moment, you have inside you all the wisdom you seek to choose your life and your way of showing up. Limiting thoughts, beliefs and feelings can block you from moving forward. An absence of love and concern for yourself can result in negative head talk that holds you back with discouraging messages about who you are and what you can do. By listening and caring deeply, I guide you in connecting with your own inner wisdom. We identify the way you’d like to live. We determine what’s blocking you and release you from the hold those blocks have over you—unleashing the positive energy that will fuel you forward. Together we develop a plan to move you closer to your heart’s desire. My books, blog, radio show and signature coaching programs help individuals and organizations harness the transformative energy of love to turn unexplored possibilities into fulfilling realities and step into their greatness. What’s love got to do with it? Everything! My book, Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life! (Hay House/ Balboa Press 2013) shares my story and the stories of 10 of my clients along with my signature Discovery Framework. For fun, I love reading, sewing, knitting, yin yoga, afternoon tea, opera and movies. I live in Williamsburg, Virginia with my spouse, Wilson Abney, and the cat who runs our life, Maisy Jane.
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3 Responses to Emotions at Work

  1. Sam Red says:

    Very interesting, Deborah, particularly because it accurately describes the approach to emotions that the catabolic leader I mentioned last time had. She certainly appeared to be “oblivious to [her] own emotions”. Although she tried to be open to the emotions of others, we all felt her efforts to be fake/insincere i.e. almost like she had an inability to connect emotionally and authentically with others. Energetically, it was incredibly draining for “members of her team” since she wasn’t at all effective in creating a team spirit. Although she was young, she seemed to have an old-fashioned approach to leadership – she was the boss and the “team” were there to carry out her micro-management orders 😉 How un-inspiring 😉 Love & blessings, Sam 🙂

  2. Tammi Kale says:

    Fascinating posts!

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