Emotion; a word that originates from the Middle French word emotion – which translates to to stir up. An emotion can be positive or negative; in some cases, neutral.

An organization is where people come together to achieve a mutual-set goal(s). In that process, a person achieves individual goals for personal satisfaction. In return for achieving these said goals, extrinsic and intrinsic values are provided.

But what value do these perks, monetary systems signify if an individual cannot express their true self while working in the organization? Why are ‘positive’ emotional outbursts accepted (in a controlled manner) and ‘negative’ emotions questioned?

Companies must realize the significance emotions hold – they represent the building blocks towards building the culture. Focusing on cognitive cultures, i.e., norms, values, artifacts, assumptions that set the path and towards employee’s behavior at work do not pave the way towards success. A culture that incorporates emotional values that allow people to express themselves at work should not be a privilege, but a right.

Is it possible to review the branches of emotion and agree that they should be what they are – which is feeling? The unnecessary segmentation into positive and negative to investigate and scrutinize an individual’s personality is not required.

Have we witnessed or experienced individuals telling people to control their emotional outbursts? Whether in the form of happiness, sadness, disgust, confusion, etc.?

Organizations may accept rejoice when a potential customer is a ‘lead’ or a ‘money-making machine’ to the firm. Do organizations accept when people wish to express their sadness or displeasure in not completing a task? Or perhaps, feeling stressed? It has been reported that exhibiting negative emotions at work is considered to be unprofessional, have we considered taking into account that if employees are comfortable, satisfied, and happy – the productivity of the firm is said to increase by 12%?

The point being, employees working in an organization – in a traditional format or unconventional manner – must feel comfortable in communicating that they feel stressed, anxious, sad, angry, happy, satisfied, confused, or just their current state of mind and well-being. The degree of expressing emotions at a workplace directly correlates to the culture of the organization.

A collective sense of well-being; a welcoming spirit must be cultivated in organizations, workplaces, etc. Emotions are said to have an influence on the attitude and behavior of people at work. Taking this into consideration, one must agree that building and managing a relationship, amongst all classes of employees is crucial. While this may be the ultimate ‘goal’ to achieve emotional intelligence in the workplace, being self-aware of various emotions and accepting the behavior should be the first point of order.

Creating a social awareness of various emotions – communicating to future leaders and employees about the transformation in the work culture and behavior will lead to acceptance.

Acceptance is bound to pave the way towards normalcy and cultivating an amicable spirit amongst all classes of people.

Dwelling deeper, emotions can motivate and cause discourse in work. They can be contagious or malleable; ultimately, what needs to be taken into consideration if the outcome of expressing emotion has caused a positive externality.

In a broader perspective, the below emotions are said to affect the workplace.

If the pandemic has inculcated or shed light on anything, it is that we must value ourselves. Mental, Physical, and Emotional Health are not topics to just being spoken about, but to be practiced and empathized with.

We are human, as humans, we are bound to express emotions with, to, and because of people. Expressing emotions is something that should be welcomed, not be shunned. With this being said, on the flip-side of the situation, it must be noted that if the (re)action causes a negative externality or unjustifiable or ‘surface acting’.

From admiration to acceptance – the above wheel helps us to under how emotions present themselves. They can fluctuate, and be a mixture of many. Joy may have various secondary emotions or feelings, ranging from optimism to enthrallment; which then later translates to its tertiary level which is hope.

From the above image, it can be depicted that we must widen the horizon of primary emotions; thereby, increasing the number of secondary emotions.

We are only as strong as the people who surround us, who build us up and help us believe in ourselves. It takes a mentally strong person to be in tune with their emotions, to allow themselves to feel everything.

In the workplace, concerned stakeholders must take the responsibility to assess the type of emotional climate that lingers in the organization. This would help them to dig deeper into the culture of the workplace. Surveys on emotional health can be circulated to understand and thoroughly analyze the situation.

Managers, Leaders, Employees, Colleagues must not stop there. Speaking freely – the degree of Openness in a workplace must be looked into. If people are asked about their emotional well-being and state-of-mind – how is the situation managed? How do people respond? This helps the firm to understand the climate, culture, and environment that circulates and lingers in the workplace.

While developing an organization that welcomes the idea of expressing emotions – it can be a hard task and years of work. The industries have been used to bottling up emotions and a culture of ‘work-while-you-work’. It is imperative to think about the long-run towards achieving strategic objectives. Leaders can then visualize an increase in productivity, creativity, and happiness in the workplace.

Organizations must think about gaining credibility towards this very cause. Listening to employees voicing out their concerns and not derogating them will pave the way towards victory. Firms must look into finding and cultivating an authentic environment that will not be detrimental to various stakeholders concerned.

While we do speak about expressing emotions at the workplace, but setting parameters and means towards how and when people can open up at work is crucial towards achieving this goal.

Firms that look into considering Triple-Bottom-Line; and consider the Social aspect of the firm can grow bigger and better. Ultimately, it is about creating an impact in the community.

It is time we recognize workplace toxicity, and create practices on building healthier cultures. Ultimately, it is an authentic emotional climate that pays dividends. Creating a culture that is beneficial for all parties should be the aim.

To conclude, an independent survey was carried out – and it was astonishing to witness that majority of the respondents (27%) felt to discover betrayal; supervisor abuses authority; sub-ordinate refuses to comply; develop a romantic relationship; discover co-worker is taking advantage of you, etc. These are major contributions to employees expressing emotional outbursts.

In cases like these, it is imperative that workplaces have an outlet to ensure employees have a mechanism to vent. A system must be designed to support the collective nature and spirit of employees. People need to express themselves and feel free of unnecessary weight and baggage. Making the world a better place through accepting the toxic environment and rectifying them with strategies. After all, the drops of water make up the powerful and gigantic ocean.

Be Beautiful. Be Bold. Be Brave. Express Emotions. 

Don’t let the fire burn the growing plant.