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Self Development

It’s My Job And I’ll Cry If I Want To: The Case For Showing Emotions In The Workplace

Allowing workers to show their true selves has its benefits.

Amanda Slavin

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In a society that values strength, independence and self-reliance above all else, why express yourself? Why go out on a limb to reveal anything other than the highlight reel you post on social media in any situation, let alone in the setting where it could cost you the most: At work?

As it turns out, it could pay off in a big way.

Corporate robots are a dying breed

In today’s professional landscape, people want to bring their whole selves to work, even if doing so would break from the norms of “professionalism.” Millennials want work-life integration, not just work-life balance, meaning they’re not going to leave their emotions at home and send a cold, feeling-less, in-control-at-all-times automaton to the office in their place.

The insane precedent we’ve set for employees to remove so much of themselves from their professional lives is not only unhealthy for individuals; it’s also costing their employers in huge ways, even cutting enormous chunks out of corporate bottom lines.

By creating a workplace that does not allow people to share who they are, employers are essentially ensuring widespread workforce disengagement and high turnover.

I have a (somewhat) radial recommendation to overcome this massive issue: Cry at work.

Related: How to Harness Your Emotions

So, you want my employees to be crying – in the office?

Yes and no. In a perfect world, your employees would be perfectly balanced in their workloads and satisfied in their roles. They would never feel overwhelmed or dejected, and the need for showing negative emotions in the office wouldn’t exist.

We all know that’s not the world we live in. With the insanely fast pace of business these days, it’s likely that your team is going to feel frustration, anger, sadness and a whole host of other unpleasant emotions in the office.

I firmly believe that allowing, and even encouraging them to process these feelings outwardly is essential to having a successful business.

Here’s a personal example so you can see that it’s not as scary as it seems

One experience during last year’s holiday “break” led me to the brink of exhaustion. My team and I thought most people would be offline, but instead, our clients were in need of assistance, and I ended up picking up a heavy load because we hadn’t planned accordingly. I was working until the late hours every night during a week I had planned to spend with my family, and I was frustrated. This was directly impacting my health, and I was putting my professional success in front of my own personal and physical health.

After the holiday, during our weekly check-in, I expressed this frustration with the entire team. I cried during this call, explaining that I had felt really alone and like I could not really depend on anyone. I empathized that I knew everyone worked so unbelievably hard and that we all needed this break, but ultimately we hadn’t set ourselves up for success. We had to work harder and smarter so that we could truly take a well-deserved break and be present with our loved ones and ourselves.

The team responded immediately, and not only understood my perspective, but jumped into shape to do the work. In the end, we were able to satisfy our clients’ needs and set aside a time of rest for all of us, including myself.

Sometimes tears are the most productive solution, because they show your humanity and rally your colleagues to support you.

Related: 10 Ways Smart People Stay Calm

OK, I get the picture; now what do I do?

encouraging-emotional-expression

There are so many strategies you can try to create an expressive, engaged workplace in which everyone can show how they really feel, but the ones I recommend starting with are:

1. Encourage expression

Create an environment where people can openly share their emotions, whether that’s an all-team happy hour when a new client is won, or encouraging employees to vent their frustration on a tough day. Sometimes, this even means encouraging crying in the office.

2001 study by Vanessa Urch Druskat and Steve B Wolff found that teams who score high on tests for emotional intelligence (or emotional quotient, EQ) perform markedly better than those who score poorly. “Our research shows that, just like individuals, the most effective teams are emotionally intelligent ones.”

And they aren’t the only ones preaching the EQ gospel. Their findings have been replicated by hundreds of workplace and emotional researchers and published in dozens of peer-reviewed journals.

One of the most effective strategies that my company, CatalystCreativ, has used to help businesses create a more empathetic and expressive culture is teaching ways to foster traditionally “feminine” traits above more “masculine” ones. By valuing and expressing traits such as receptivity, surrender, vulnerability and tenderness, employees of all genders show higher rates of engagement and job satisfaction, and companies themselves perform better.

Think your male managers won’t go for it? That would objectively be a bad choice. A 2011 study conducted at Stanford examined feminine and masculine traits in male and female employees, and compared these traits to their rates of promotion compared to their peers. The results were surprising: “Feminine” men got two times the promotions of their traditionally masculine peers.

Those workers able to blend feminine and masculine traits in the workplace tend to excel beyond their peers, and companies that encourage this expression among all employees will reap the financial rewards.

2. Reduce stress

Although all workplaces today are somewhat stress-inducing, those that discourage emotional expression are particularly problematic.

By not crying and sharing emotions, employees are bottling in stress. I could site literally thousands of sources explaining that stress is horrible for health, and everyone is now aware of its awful effects, which extend to harming work productivity.

Professor Roger Baker, a clinical psychologist and professor at Bournemouth University in the U.K., claims that “crying is the transformation of distress into something tangible, and that the process itself helps to reduce the feeling of trauma.” And he’s not the only one who feels this way.

William Frey, a biochemist at St Paul-Ramsey Medical Center, found that tears contain the stress hormones prolactin and adrenocorticotropic hormone, meaning that crying literally flushes stress-causing chemicals out of the body.

If you’re still unconvinced about allowing, and even encouraging, your employees to cry in the workplace, consider this: Stress costs U.S. companies $300 billion per year, due to health care and missed work days alone. And while eliminating all stress is impossible, allowing employees to process and express it is the only way to reduce its negative effects on your business.

So, if you’re reading this as an employee, go big. I encourage you to show up to work as your whole self every day. If you’re an organisational leader, I hope you recognise the absolute necessity of creating a more open workplace for your employees. One in which they can celebrate, laugh, talk about their real selves and yes, even cry.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Amanda Slavin is the CEO of CatalystCreativ, a creative agency that empowers brand success by forging deep audience engagement. Slavin’s work has merited Cannes Lion Awards, and the business of such clients as Google, the New York City Ballet, the NFL Raiders and more.

Self Development

(Infographic) How 9 Creative Minds Got Their Ideas

From doing headstands to drinking 50 cups of coffee a day, check out the quirky things that these nine creatives have done.

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Coming up with new, creative ideas can be tricky. That’s why it’s important to find a way to get inspired. After all, it’s our own unique rituals that can bring mental clarity and creativity. That could be a quirky habit or routine such as doing headstands or wearing lots of hats.

Igor Stravinksy did headstands, which he believed helped to rest his head and clear his brain. Author Dr. Seuss felt that wearing lots of crazy hats helped inspire his creativity and overcome writer’s block. However, those aren’t even the strangest routines that some of the world’s most brilliant minds have utilised. Steve Jobs bathed his feet in toilet water to reduce stress levels while Honore de Balzac drank up to 50 cups of coffee a day.

Check out Business Backers infographic below to learn the weird ways that nine creative minds got their ideas.

1533319920_unusual-inspiration-infographic

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Self Development

15 Traits Of Unstoppable People

Unstoppable people keep their inner fires burning by developing the characteristics necessary to become successful.

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Unstoppable people are like warriors. They are always ready to take on the world. They are guided by a light from within, full of boundless energy and unwavering in their goals. They have learned to activate their natural talents and develop the skills necessary to achieve whatever they aim for.

How do they do this? Where do they find the stamina and strength to keep going? Unstoppable people keep their inner fires burning by developing the characteristics necessary to become successful. Here are 15 traits that will help you go from being a solid achiever to being a truly unstoppable person.

Do you have any yet?

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Self Development

Why Confidence Is So Important In The Workplace

If you are not sure on how to gain confidence and are curious as to why it is so important in the workplace, read on for some helpful advice.

Amy Galbraith

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Confidence is not something that everyone has. Not all of us are able to walk into a room and exude charisma and panache, but confidence is a trait that can help immensely in the workplace. It can help you to interact with your colleagues, keep you motivated during stressful times and can also boost your productivity during the working day.

If you are not sure on how to gain confidence and are curious as to why it is so important in the workplace, read on for some helpful advice.

Why is confidence so important?

Assertiveness gives you an edge

Being assertive does not mean that you are aggressive or arrogant. Assertiveness means that you are able to take initiative on tasks and handle pressure without too much stress. It also means that you are willing to take on new challenges in the workplace.

Being confident and assertive will help you to reach new heights in your career. Your employer will notice that you are able to handle stressful tasks with ease and that you are able to create solutions to problems using your own ideas. Confidence will help to boost your performance in the office and this could, in turn, lead to a possible promotion as well.

Effective communication works wonders

Being able to communicate clearly and effectively is a major asset to have in any office. Having confidence allows you to do this easily, enabling you to effectively get your message across to colleagues and clients.

Putting forward an air of confidence when communicating might sound difficult at first, but if you practise, it will become easier. Communication skills are at the top of almost every employer’s list when it comes to recruiting new talent, and being self-confident will help to build these skills. A confident person believes in their communication abilities, which shows in their verbal and written language.

Productivity levels are boosted

If you are confident in yourself and in your work, you are more likely to be more productive. This is because you will not have to second-guess your work and you can complete tasks on time and on budget.

Productive workers are highly valued in any company, and confidence goes hand-in-hand with producing work. You will be able to take on more projects, challenge yourself to move out of your comfort zone and reach new goals for your company. Your employer will notice that you produce high quality work and this could lead to new challenges, a role change and even a promotion.

Related: Entrepreneurs And A Politically Neutral Workplace – Finding The Perfect Balance

How to gain confidence in the workplace

Shift your views

Confident people rarely think about how others impact them, rather they think about the impact they have on others. In order to gain confidence, you will need to shift your views and think about how you can and do impact your colleagues.

This shift in view will empower you as you will realise that it is what you do that matters and not what others do to you. You should also look at how you handle pressure. If you are usually someone who needs guidance in difficult situations, try to change your viewpoint to seeing yourself as someone who can give advice in stressful times. A simple shift of view can help you to feel more self-confident, and others will soon follow suit.

Tell people you will finish the task

Feeling confident starts with stating your goals. Let people know that you will finish a task at work, and go on to finish that task. By voicing your goals to your team, you are holding yourself accountable, which will help to boost your confidence.

Saying your goals out loud will give you credibility and people will take note that you always stay true to your word. You must be sure that anything you take on can be finished by the deadline, otherwise incomplete tasks and a huge workload can diminish your confidence. Be sure to manage your time wisely and you will be able to finish any task you set your mind to.

Improve your knowledge

You can easily build your confidence by improving your knowledge and learning more. This can be done easily, by watching TED Talks on topics that interest you, attending seminars on how to build self-confidence or taking online courses in your field.

Confidence grows when you learn more about a topic that you enjoy or when you gain more skills in your field. You will also have new knowledge that can contribute to your position, which will help to boost your confidence too. It is never too late to learn something new and you should never let your age prohibit you from taking courses or going to seminars.

Final thoughts

Being confident can help in many ways in the workplace. You will be more productive, you will be able to communicate effectively and you will become more assertive too. These are all traits that employers look for in potential talent, so building your confidence is a win for both you and the company. Improve your knowledge, shift your views and hold yourself accountable in order to boost your confidence and enjoy work even more.

Read next: 3 Ways Workplace Gamification Can Backfire – And How To Avoid Them

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