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Emotions affecting own behaviour and behaviour of others

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

NOTE: Although this page has been marked as complete, it has not yet been peer-reviewed or quality-assured, therefore it should be considered a ‘first draft‘ and any information should be fact-checked independently.

The topics for this learning outcome are related to self-awareness and for this assessment criterion, you will be required to look inward and critically evaluate how your own emotions can affect the behaviour of yourself and others.

Self-awareness is recognising and acknowledging your feelings and emotions and understanding how they can impact your performance and behaviour. For example, if someone is tired, they may be irritable and prone to making poor decisions. If they are able to identify these feelings, they will be better able to manage them. They may realise that a decision they need to make is not urgent and can wait until the next day when they are more refreshed.

Also, by reflecting on your feelings you may be able to ascertain the cause of them and prevent them from happening in future. For example, the individual above may be tired because they have taken responsibility for too much work, so they may need to delegate some tasks to others and keep a closer eye on their workload going forward.

It is also important to recognise how your emotions can affect the behaviour of others. In his article about self-awareness,  on LinkedIn, Goleman talks about a middle manager who believes “…that he is clear and assertive in making sure his subordinates know what needs to be done and when“, whilst he is perceived by his team as “…angry, yelling and bullying“.

An excellent resource for learning more about self-awareness is Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, which I highly recommend reading. Alternatively, you can get the audiobook for free when you sign up for a free trial of Audible (don’t forget to cancel your subscription within 30 days if you do not want to be charged).

Some additional areas that you should reflect on are included below.

Your leadership and management role and style

Do you feel that your leadership and management style is consistent or does it change depending on your mood? For example, do you usually use a democratic leadership style, but switch to a more authoritarian style if you are feeling stressed?

Whilst different leadership styles may be required depending on the situation or person, it is not practical to change them based on your current feelings and emotions. This will create inconsistency in your approach to leadership and management and team members will become uncertain and even anxious about approaching you. You may have worked with people in the past where you felt you had to ‘pick the right moment’ to approach them with an issue.

This can lead to ineffective and inefficient teamwork and a lack of trust and respect between yourself and your team.

By being self-aware of your own emotions, you will be able to assess if they are influencing the way that you lead and manage.

Dealing with difficult situations

Difficult situations can lead to feelings that may cloud your judgment and impact your ability to make effective decisions. Fear, anxiety, doubt and stress may lead to you subconsciously handling a difficult situation in an inappropriate way.

For example, if you need to have a difficult conversation with a team member about inappropriate conduct, it should be carried out swiftly to ensure that the team member understands that their behaviour is not acceptable and to prevent it from escalating. However, fear and anxiety about the discussion may cause you to subconsciously avoid or ‘put off’ the discussion.

Self-awareness can help you to identify when your emotions are influencing your actions and decisions so that you are able to lessen their impact.

Managing positive and negative emotions within yourself and others

A positive attitude towards your work can be contagious. If you are generally happy and content, these feelings can manifest in those around you. Similarly, a negative attitude with feelings of sadness or anger can also influence the attitude of others.

Therefore, it is useful to try to have a consistently positive attitude toward your work and practice to enable effective team working and high team morale.

You should also recognise how each member of your team handles their emotions so that you are able to provide appropriate support to them in line with their individual needs.

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