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Blog 16: Take it personally – why emotions matter in a workplace

We spend the bulk of our waking hours in the workplace. Still, when we encounter a difficult situation or a conflict, we are often advised: “not to take it personally”. However, it is difficult to imagine how a time spent from your early adulthood from the retirement age would not get personal. 

When we take matters personally, we connect to them, feel passionate about them and want to work for it. We get inspired, energized, and successful. And on the other hand – nobody wants employees that have depersonalized their work. Success is linked to taking it personally. 

This is not just personal psychology nor language nuances. Think about the connection between engaged employees and business performance. 

“An engaged employee is aware of the business context, and works with colleagues to improve performance within the job for the benefit of the organization.” Institute of Employment Studies

Engaged employees offer more of their capability and potential. It correlates with performance and innovation, as stated in a report by UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. How engaged do you think employees are who are “not taking it personally”? Low personal engagement can get expensive for your business.

How to get personal and still stay focused on the business?

Even getting personal is positive, we must indifference the good way of getting personal from not being able to manage our boundaries. You always need to protect yourself psychologically, so that every mistake are not taken so personally that it hurts your self-esteem. A good medium is an enthusiasm without too much workaholism. 

As a leader, you need to lead engagement too. It is a topic that needs to be put on the table and be remembered daily both in HR and strategic work. Leading engagement means getting personal and showing emotions, and use them as a tool for productivity and innovation. 

Showing emotions and talking about them in the work context can be quite difficult. To achieve this we need psychological safety and an open work culture. There are methods that can help you create a trusting atmosphere where everybody can talk openly and can be heard. 

We have learned that Neemo™ Method workshops we reach psychological safety very fast. Working with art affects our emotions, it happens instinctively without us even noticing it. Through art, we can talk about emotional issues and learn from each other better. A Neemo™ Method workshop helps you to take it personally and use emotions to develop a better organizational culture.

* Robinson, D., Perryman S., & Hayday, S. (2004). The drivers of employee engagement. IES Report.

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