How we manage our emotions throughout our daily lives is often a challenge. We become irritated when held up in traffic, or frustrated with a shop assistant, or angry with our husband or wife about a domestic issue or when our children make us late for work!
Sound familiar? I am sure it does as this happens to all of us, but we manage.
However, the workplace is a different ‘ball game’ entirely. There are acceptable, and unacceptable, levels of emotions that can be expressed.
Because you are at work, you will need to control your anger, your frustration or your disappointment.
Many issues can be upsetting at work, and here is a list of my top ten:
* Challenge No 1
You have been asked to write a report and a needs analysis. You spend weeks researching and collating your results. When it is finished, you send it to your boss and he in turn passes it onto his boss.
However, your immediate superior takes all the credit for your work and you receive no acknowledgement, leaving you feeling hurt and angry.
* Challenge No 2
You work in a call centre all day and listen to one complaint after another. No one ever says a nice word to you. At the end of each day, you are stressed out and with a major headache.
* Challenge No 3
Your computer keeps on crashing, you keep losing your work and missing deadlines. You have told the IT department but they are too busy to attend to you.
* Challenge No 4
You are always the one having to make coffee but you can’t remember anyone ever offering you a cup!
* Challenge No 5
You have a ‘job-share’ with a colleague but they always insist on taking the same lunch hour and never give you an opportunity to change. This makes you feel angry because this situation is never discussed with you.
* Challenge No 6
You work in an open plan office and your colleague who sits directly opposite you has no consideration for how loud they speak, making it really difficult to concentrate.
* Challenge No 7
You go away on holiday and come back to an untidy desk, food wrappers in your drawer and all your stationery has disappeared. Plus the fact that your chair has been taken and you have left with a broken one. You find it disrespectful and more than annoying.
* Challenge No 8
You get upset because your boss never says “Good morning”, let alone a “Thank you” for your work. This hurts you every time it happens and doesn’t help you feel valued or recognised for who you are and for the work that you do.
* Challenge No 9
The new graduate trainee is arrogant and, thinks that he knows it all although he has only been in the office for a week. He is certainly not your favourite person!
* Challenge No 10
You have been asked to set up a meeting for the department and to make sure everyone attends. You send out an email but only one person replies. You know that your reputation is dependent on your organising this meeting but you are frustrated by the apathy shown.
Of course, I do not have a magic bullet that will ensure that everyone else is always considerate, helpful and co-operative, but here are my top ten tips that may help you… in some circumstances.
1. Accept the reality of the situation.
2. Try not to personalise the problem.
3. Be realistic in your expectations of others.
4. Count the positives, in any situation, not the negatives.
5. Although others may behave annoyingly, it is usually not done on purpose.
6. Interrupt the anger cycle by focusing on another matter.
7. Use empathy to put yourself in the ‘other’ position.
8. Forgive and forget wherever possible. Don’t keep resurrecting it.
9. Choose the optimum time to talk to the person who is upsetting you and think about what you will say in advance.
10. Don’t let emotions run, or ruin, your life.
Remember - It is impossible to take back your words once they have been said, so the key is to think carefully before you speak. It may not always be easy to keep your emotions in check, but it’s essential if you want to keep your job.
The author is a BBC Guest-Broadcaster and Motivational Speaker. She is CEO of an international Stress Management consultancy and her new book, ‘Show Stress Who’s Boss!’ is available in all good bookshops.