7 ways to foster emotional agility at workplace

Published December 5th, 2022 - 08:54 GMT
7 ways to foster emotional agility at the workplace
Ultimately, in a continuously changing and complex world, developing and practicing emotional agility is a crucial prerequisite for success and growth. (shutterstock)

ALBAWABA - As the world and global leaders are beginning to see the importance of leading in a real and empathetic way, the modern workplace is becoming more complex. Whether it is knowing how to lead in an assertive and motivating manner to showing empathy and mental support, many leaders might be struggling with how to really lead. 

This is where emotional agility comes into place. 

First coined by Susan David and Christina Congleton in a Harvard Business Review article back in 2013, emotional agility soon became an important concept that helps leaders and organizations become more resilient and successful. 

In short, emotional agility is the ability to accept all your thoughts and emotions without having the need to hide or suppress them. When you are emotionally agile, you are able to be mindful of your thoughts and feelings. By doing so, you will be able to label your feelings and thoughts in a way that will help you better cope with them. The idea is to stop allowing them to control you and instead become more aware of what you are feeling and thinking, and thus manage them in a healthy and more efficient way.  

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Just like most things in life, learning how to build emotional agility at the workplace is much easier said than done. That is why we brought you 7 ways that can help you foster emotional agility at the workplace: 

1. Lead by example

Many leaders spend most of their time preaching how things should be rather than showing their employees. When a leader leads by example, they are showcasing their expectations and the kind of behavior they expect from their employees. 

When leaders show a positive and aware mindset, their employees will most likely follow in their footsteps. 

2. Create open communication

Trust and communication are some of the most crucial aspects of a successful organization. 

You cannot expect your employees and teammates to trust you if you do not foster a two-way open communication channel. Creating open communication channels between you and your employees is essential to ensuring that you are aware of their thoughts and feelings. When employees trust that you are there to listen, acknowledge, and work on their concerns, they will feel supported. 

This way your team will be confident enough in their relationship with you and thus open up about their concerns and challenges rather than isolate themselves and react in a negative mindset. 

As a leader, it is your responsibility to foster a spirit of communication and trust within your team and encourage continuous transparency and communication. 

3. Practice your values

You know how the saying goes, “practice what you preach”. 

Make sure your values and those of your organization are being practiced and reflected openly in the workplace. 

Values like trust, empathy and development are important factors in nurturing emotional agility. Therefore, make sure you practice your values and encourage your team to do so too. 

4. Encourage work-life balance

An integral part of helping your team become more emotionally agile is ensuring they get the rest they need to recharge. Encouraging them to reach a healthy work-life balance is necessary to make sure they come to the office feeling recharged and relaxed. 

Make sure your team knows the importance of taking days off and disconnecting after working hours. And do not forget that it is essential for you as a leader to set limits and maintain your own work-life balance. Because chances are your team will not be encouraged to have a work-life balance if they see their leader working outside working hours and not taking time off. 

5. Hire the right people

The people you hire play a key role in determining what the workplace culture will look like. Choosing the right hire means you are considering not only their professional expertise but also how well they fit into your culture. 

Ensuring you hire a positive, driven, and kind person will help uplift your team’s spirit. Whereas hiring a pessimistic and aggressive person might cause low energy in the office. 

6. Provide learning opportunities

Being an emotionally agile leader means you have the ability to reframe mistakes and look at them as learning opportunities. Not only that but providing constructive criticism and continuous feedback will help you make your employees feel empowered. 

Providing learning courses about emotional agility, managing stress, and being mindful can also help employees become more emotionally agile. 

7. Foster flexibility and adaptability

No job is picture-perfect, and we all face challenges every now and then. However, what is more important is how we respond to these challenges. Do we get angry and resist them? Or do we try to manage our frustration and be more mindful? 

Being open to challenges and changes is a key part of developing emotional agility. It is imperative that leaders learn how to be flexible and adaptable in the face of adversity and be open to any change coming their way

Learning how to accept our emotions and thoughts and respond in a mindful way is the core of what emotional agility is. Therefore, it is important that leaders practice it and encourage their employees to do the same. 

Ultimately, in a continuously changing and complex world, developing and practicing emotional agility is a crucial prerequisite for success and growth. 


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