Managing Emotions in the Workplace


The workplace offers opportunities to experience a wide range of emotions. Most of the emotions are rarely, if ever, openly discussed in organizational behavior (Muchinsky, 2000). The culture of the workplace is changing. Not only is the workplace becoming more diverse, but the way business is also conducted is changing as well. Some companies are not adapting to the new ways of handling emotions as they are with new practices.

The protocol of the work world kept a discouragement on emotions.

A well-run organization didn’t allow employees to express frustration, fear, grief, or any feelings (Robbins & Jude, 2015, pg. 90). Workers were taught to suppress emotions and concentrate on getting the job done. But if emotions are suppressed too much, it can lead to unneeded stress, depression, withdrawal, and even high turnover rates.
Effective management of emotions is a complex and challenging task for managers and something that has to be dealt with every day. Human beings are complex creatures and the wide range of emotions and moods they can display make it difficult at times to manage.

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What works in one situation may not work in another. It is up to the manager to be able to determine the best course of action when dealing with emotions and how to create an outcome desirable both to the individual and the organization.

What factors do you think to make some organizations ineffective at managing emotions?

External factors-both positive and negative-can create many challenges for management. If someone is in a bad mood when they arrive for work it can carry over to their performance for the day limiting production and even creating a negative effect on their co-workers.

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Emotions were developed as survival mechanisms and are hardwired into our biology just like metabolic processes and muscular reflexes. (Goudreau, 2013). So if workers are given a bit of bad news before they start work for the day, chances are they will have a negative reaction that will lead to a negative mood and carry it with them into the workplace. Just because the environment has changed doesn’t mean the same biological reaction will as well. Managers can not control what happens to their team outside the workplace or how they react-they can only control what happens once they get to work.

Another factor managers have to deal with is preset personalities that workers may have such as depression or depression. These workers have a tendency to experience certain moods and emotions more frequently than others and their affect intensity-how powerfully these emotions effect them-will differ. (Robins & Judge, 2015). When they are sad they are really sad and when they are happy they are really happy. So how these types of workers may react to department cutbacks or policy changes can present a significant challenge to management.

Do you think strategic use and display of emotions serve to protect employees, or does covering your true emotions at work lead to more problems than it solves?

Regulating emotions at work can lead to more harm than good. Many employers have set forth a requirement of emotional labor, an employee’s expression of organizationally desired emotions during interpersonal transactions at work. (Robbins & Judge, 2015, pg. 101). How management wants their team to act around customers and vendors may differ from how employees feel. In doing so employees are forced to suppress their own emotions if they are not in line with company expectations. This can lead to feelings of frustration, stress, resentment, and even anger. And if the feelings get suppressed too much it can lead to a major blow-up.

Suppressing can lead to a rebound effect. The more you dwell on a topic the more likely you will keep having thoughts on the topic. (Pedneault, 2014). This can lead to a vicious cycle-you have an unpleasant interaction with a co-worker, you try to push it away which leads to more unpleasant feelings and interactions with co-workers. Rather than ignore a negative feeling employees should be allowed to talk about them to prevent withdrawal behavior and an unpleasant working environment.

Emotional regulation is a way to protect employees without completely suppressing their emotions. Emotional regulation is a strategy to make uncomfortable thoughts and feelings more manageable. (Pedneault, 2014). Emotions and moods are part of the workplace and cannot be ignored. Effective managers will allow their workers to express their emotions as long as they are professional and cognitive to the workplace.

For example, if an employee begins to cry, acknowledge the situation rather than ignore it. Ask them is this a good moment or would you like to come back later? (Goudreau, 2013). This can lead to less shame and can turn an upsetting event into a productive conversation. Allowing employees to vent also can reduce stress levels and keep emotions from boiling over. After all negative emotions can spread and no one wants to be around a person who adds negativity to the group. (Managing, 2014).

Have you ever worked where emotions were used as part of a management style? Describe the advantages and disadvantages of this approach in your experience.

The most emotional manager I have dealt with was when I worked for Papa Gino’s corporate office in the facilities department. The director of my department was very intimidating and liked to use anger and negative consequences to get his points and expectations met on a regular basis. I didn’t know what to call it at the time but everyone under him had to do surface acting on a daily basis. We all put up false fronts and bought into his approach to projects simply to avoid shouting matches, unneeded levels of stress, and fear of losing our jobs.
There were some positives to this form of management style. His high demand produced timely and accurate projects, praise from operations, and an expectation that the facilities team could be counted on to get the job done right the first time.

This also created a negative effect set on the workers’ moods. Many of us displayed emotional dissonance-we would have resentment toward his management style but put on an agreeable front in order to get the job done. My department had the highest rate of turnover in the company as well.

I feel a more balanced approach would have been more effective in this case. The workplace brings out a wide variety of emotions in all of us, many of them deeply felt. (Muchinsky, 2000). If anger and fear of messing up were the only way we approached a job that is all we would dwell on and would lead to negative moods all the time. Sometimes a situation calls for being strict to get a point across but this does not work all the time. When a job was done well employees should be recognized for the effort. Being approachable can also lead to more positive mood effects and feelings of loyalty instead of resentment.

What can Laura’s company do to change its emotional climate? In Laura’s case management used fear and anger to control the employees which led to deep levels of resentment much like the situation, I experienced myself. Improving employee moods can be done in several ways. Managers can use humor to lighten the mood. Small tokens of appreciation such as breakfast foods once a week or cake after a project is completed can go a long way. My current employer does a great job of rewarding his employees for a job well done such as given out sporting event tickets or taking some of the team to lunch. Studies have shown that when managers share positive emotions followers are more creative in a positive emotional environment. (Robbins, & Judge, 2015).

Laura’s company can also be more respectful and create a feeling of cooperation amongst the team. If management can encourage the sharing of ideas and common goals then the employees are more likely to feel psychological empowerment, feel as if they are part of the team, and their opinions matter leading to a high level of organizational commitment. After all, the company’s success depends on the production of the employees so why not make them realize that their success is important and will contribute to the organization’s survival.


Emotions are part of the modern-day workplace. Requiring employees to suppress their emotions while at work can lead to negative consequences. Gone are the days of viewing workplaces as simple rational entities where emotions are checked at the door. Effective managers will be able to incorporate emotions into the workplace while keeping employees motivated and productive and not losing focus on the organization’s goals. The ability to read people (Emotional Intelligence) will be used by the most effective managers to keep their employee’s emotions in check while not ignoring them altogether. Happy employees will equate to productive results. After all who wouldn’t want a team of enthusiastic stayers?


Goudreau, J. (2013). From Crying to Temper Tantrums: How to Manager Emotions at Work.
Retrieved September 15th, 2014 from
Managing Your Emotions at Work. (2014). Retrieved September 15th, 2014 from
www.mindtools.comMuchinsky, P. (2000). Emotions in the workplace: The neglect of organizational behavior.
Journal of Organizational Behavior. 21.7 Pgs. 801-805
Pedneault-Salters, K. (2014). Supressing Emotions. Retrived September 15th, 2014 from
Robbins, S. & Judge, T. (2015). Organizational Behavior. (16th ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ:
Pearson/Prentice Hall

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Managing Emotions in the Workplace. (2020, Sep 18). Retrieved from

Managing Emotions in the Workplace

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