Welcome to the June edition of our GLC Director’s Letter.
Does this description of emotions in the workplace ring true for you?
“It is clear which emotions are acceptable at work: Happiness and enthusiasm are welcomed, but sadness and fear are usually awkward and taboo. That’s likely why workers tend to cry in the bathroom but smile at their desks.”
I’m lucky to say that I’ve never cried in the bathroom at work, but this quote from an article in The Atlantic by Bourree Lam raises important questions about the way we engage with each other in the office.
Recently, GLC Associate Director Paul Miller led a workshop on campus with a group of 50+ Gettysburg College colleagues to help them tackle the challenging concept of emotional culture in the workplace. During the session, each person used the Emotional Cultural card deck to reflect on the role emotions play in their day-to-day work. The power of the exercise is found by simply providing people with time, space, and tools to reconnect with their colleagues and themselves in a productive way.
Emotions play a significant role in leadership engagement. Although there is some debate among scholars about the degree of its significance, we know the framework of emotional intelligence can be a helpful tool for us as leaders. Emotionally intelligent leadership is about being aware of and managing your own emotions (self-awareness and self-management), and developing social awareness and relationship management competencies. Cultivating this type of leadership allows you to resonate on an emotional level with your team, which in turn deepens your professional relationships beyond surface level interactions and leads to shared understanding.
At the GLC, we believe that leadership is a relational process that enables a group to accomplish positive change. As you approach your leadership practice, I ask you to consider how you might help your team and yourself to better connect with both thoughts and feelings.
I wish you well and thank you so much for your continued support of the GLC.
Director, Garthwait Leadership Center