Three Reasons Why You Need Emotion To Be Successful at Work

By Darcy Eikenberg, PCC

Darcy EikenbergMost of us have been taught that there’s no room for emotion in today’s world of work. We were told “it’s not personal, it’s just business.” Well, we’ve been taught wrong. Work is always personal. As long as human beings are doing the work, it will always stay personal. Unlike machines, plants, or animals, human beings are uniquely equipped with emotions. That’s what makes us messy—and marvelous.

Understanding and knowing how to interpret and use emotion effectively is one of the secret strategies for a successful career. But because we fall back on what we’ve been taught for so long, we try with all our might to erase the emotion out of our workplace, our colleagues, and ourselves. Let’s change that right now. Here are three reasons why you need emotion at work:

1. Emotion creates clarity.

Not sure what’s most important to your colleagues or your boss? Stop listening only to what they say, and start paying attention to how they say it and how they feel.

Notice their tone and energy level. Watch their eyes and face—what topics light them up? Which make them more animated? The higher their energy, the more important the issue is to them.  And when you have more clarity about what’s most important to others, you can make better decisions about how to align your own work for more success.

This technique is powerful when we’re seeking clarity for ourselves, too. Rather than pretending to be without emotions at work, focus on understanding the truths of your emotions, and listen to what they’re telling you. You’ll quickly learn what work you want to do more of, and what you may need to stop.

2. Emotion puts people in motion.

Do you ever need to influence people at work whom you’re not managing? You’ll succeed when you use emotion to put people in motion.

Positive emotions, (like concern, excitement, and enthusiasm) always help propel us forward, much more than facts and logic ever will. When we care more, we lean closer. We move. We change. We grow.

Of course, negative emotions (fear, worry, and resistance) do just the opposite over the long-term. Fear can be a short-term stimulus, but creating motion through fear will always have consequences.

How can you create more positive emotions at work? Sharing success stories and offering appreciation more frequently are two ways you can start today, no matter what your role.

3. Emotion creates courage.

We’re living and working in complex, often challenging times. The old rules aren’t working anymore. It’s up to each of us to create new rules, and to lead in genuine, human ways.

That takes courage. Allowing ourselves to feel and recognize emotion in our workplaces—our own and the emotions of those around us—is a heroic act. We need more heroes. We need you. Start embracing your emotion, and starting bringing it to work today.

I’ll be sharing more strategies in our advanced, C-Suite level breakout session at IAAP Summit 2015 called Managing Politics, People and Processes: Applied Emotional Intelligence.  Join us!


Executive coach and leadership speaker Darcy Eikenberg, PCC, is the author of “Bring Your Superpowers to Work: Your Guide to More Clarity, Confidence & Control.” She helps leaders create more life at work in ways that work for their organizations and for themselves. Download Darcy’s free guide “What to Say to Build Confidence at Work,” and connect with her at RedCapeRevolution.comLinkedInFacebook, or Twitter

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