Creating the emotional culture of your workplace


Being intentional and deliberate about the emotional environment you create is a really good idea. That might sound a bit obvious to some of you, but for those who may be a bit skeptical about the impact of emotions on the success of your organization, I recently heard a speaker highlight a study that shows a direct link between an organization’s financial performance and how employees feel in the workplace. That’s as close to proof as you can get to show how important it is to be intentional about the emotional culture you create.

Although you may prefer to deny that emotions have a place at work, if you think about it you know that they influence your thoughts, decisions, actions, behavior and performance. The same is true for those you lead. You have the distinct opportunity to make a difference in the way others feel and shape a culture of high EQ (emotional quotient) through your leadership.

As a leader, people are watching your behavior closely. How you behave has a big impact on how others behave. Why not start with yourself to begin to understand how your emotions get translated into how you act?

Observe yourself real-time as you go about your day. This is kind of like splitting yourself in two parts: the “self-observer you” who is watching as you lead. And the “acting it out you” who is leading. It isn’t easy, but if you can find a way to remind yourself to observe your behavior in real time, you’ll find a lot of rich emotions behind your decisions and actions.

Reflect daily on your decisions, actions, and the thoughts and emotions behind them. Almost every thought will have an emotion associated with it. Name and list the emotions you felt and you’ll be surprised how many you experience in a day! You might find it initially difficult to put words to your feelings so here is a list to help you. This reflection will not only get you started on better understanding how your emotions impact your leadership, but also provide a basis for understanding others (and having some compassion for the crazy things they do).

Change your thoughts if you need to. We humans are biologically inclined to negativity. By making your thoughts conscious, you have opened the door to changing how you show up. If you’re in a cycle of judging others harshly or thinking and speaking negatively you might find that you can turn your emotions in a more upward spiral. Ask yourself if those negative thoughts are true or how you might think differently (more positively) about those you are judging harshly. When you think differently, you have the opportunity to change the way you treat others for the better (and even the best leaders can get better at this).

Observing your thoughts and actions and learning to turn around negative spirals of thinking can have a big positive impact on how you express your emotions to others as well as the decisions you make. This can be the start of changing the emotional culture of the organization you lead for increased performance and results.



I am a former executive in a Fortune 100 company. I have owned and operated an executive coaching firm since 2003 called Aspire Collaborative Services LLC. We partner with great leaders to help them become even greater at developing, improving, and sustaining relationships with the people who are essential to their success. This blog is for leaders and those who help them to be more intentional about relationships at work. My top personal values include respect for others, kindness, compassion, collaboration and gratitude. I work very hard at practicing my values daily and when I don’t succeed, I practice some more. I am married with two wonderful daughters and two spoiled pugs.