Not being able to manage negative emotions at work could harm both your productivity and reputation at work.

Stressful situations at work are common, for example, when a customer snaps at you or you get assigned more work than you can handle. The pandemic has created even heightened emotions in the workplace. In your personal life, you can let off steam more easily than at work. In your professional life, it can be harder to manage your emotions in circumstances that trigger a reaction. But not being able to manage negative emotions at work could harm both your productivity and reputation at work.  

The most common negative emotions in the workplace are frustration, anger, disappointment, and nervousness. No matter how emotional the situation, you can control how you react to it.  Have you ever felt disappointed with how you reacted to a situation?  You can’t change a stressful situation, only how you react to it. The following four tips will help you keep your emotions in check.

  1. Practice Patience.  Not everyone may have the same context as you.  In a situation where you are frustrated, explain ideas further or go into more detail about a project or its objectives. Listen to what others have to say and then lead the discussion toward a solution.
  2. Think Before You Speak.  In the heat of the moment when tensions are running high, you may say something you do not mean, or it may come across in a negative tone. This happens to everyone at some point.  If you do say something you regret, apologize, and say, “That did not come out right.  Let me rephrase it.”
  3. Replace Nonproductive Behavior. Nonproductive self-talk and actions do not help in emotional situations.  Instead, work on replacing them with responses that exercise control.  For example, Here comes my boss.  I will keep this conversation productive by asking questions that will guide the discussion toward a positive outcome.  Then communicate in a direct, calm, and professional way.
  4. Take a Breather.  It’s also okay to say, “I feel very strongly about this right now.  I am going to collect my thoughts on it and then we can continue the discussion this afternoon.”  And go for a short walk, close your office door, or even make a trip to the bathroom—anything to put a little space between you and the heated situation.

Most people want to be noticed, recognized, and appreciated at work. Knowing that your work is impactful leads to a sense of reward and gives further purpose to your work. Challenging yourself to be better every day can help you differentiate yourself from others.