Daily Thoughts

Why emotions matter in workplace performance

When someone is not performing as expected in the workplace, it’s quick to pass judgement.

You might think they’re lazy, incompetent or just not capable of completing the tasks they’ve been set. All of these things might be true but they might not be too.

Over my career, I’ve found too many of us ignore the signals when it comes to causes of lower than expected performance, and ultimately don’t investigate in any detail to discover the root cause of problems.

Hence why so many are quick to pass judgement on what they think is causing a person’s poor performance.

I would say, 80% of the time, perhaps even higher, that issues with low performance are almost certainly down to current emotional states of mind. And, the reason why so many managers miss the signs and don’t unpack the problem in detail is due to a lack of emotional intelligence.

If someone is displaying lower performance than usual, we first need to ask ourselves, what could be the cause of this?

And, guess what? The simplest way to discover the answer to this is through a human to human conversation.

No matter what anyone says, emotions matter at work. 

They’re a driver of how we feel, behave and ultimately perform. If someone is not up to their usual level, you can guarantee something deeper is going on. This is why having high EQ awareness and skills are vital for managers.

For better or worse, our emotional state has an overarching effect in all areas of our lives. So take note of this, when people don’t quite seem themselves, dig deeper, be empathetic and see what’s really bothering them.

You never know what might be going on.

Perhaps this person is struggling with new parenthood, caring for a relative or just having a hard time in this crazy thing called life. Whatever the issue, it requires attention and support.

So, next time you think someone is lazy, incompetent or not motivated, put your empathy hat on and use your EQ skills. Explore the real root cause of the problem, bring empathy to the situation and support where/if you can.

Many good people have been deemed poor performers and forced out of roles for many a wrong reason, when in reality, all they needed was a good old conversation and support.

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Why emotions matter at work (Podcast episode)

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