Emotional Transparency – The Key to Strong Relationships at Work

Emotional transparency is something I’ve been coaching on quite a bit over the years and my clients love this concept. And so I thought I’d share this with you as well.

Emotional transparency essentially means being clear and transparent with others about how you feel.

I remember… early in my career when I was in a consulting role and later at a private equity firm, I always thought I had to be professional… which meant for me not to show or really feel emotions while at work.

Gosh, I most certainly had this upside-down…

The workplace, just like our personal lives, is all about relationships—relationships with our team members, our boss, our peers, our stakeholders, and our clients. Whatever industry your in, at the end of the day, we’re all in the business of people!

While relationships at work may be different, everything is still about people…

and nurturing good relationships with those around us is a key component needed to succeed in your career.

How Emotional Transparency Makes Us Better Leaders

Oftentimes my clients will tell me that someone is frustrating them or annoying them, and I will ask my clients if they let this person know that something they did or said made them feel uncomfortable, or upset, etc.

And most of the time my clients will say, “No, kinda not, I mean, I sorta brought up the topic…”

I get it. This isn’t easy!

However, imagine someone says something that upsets you and your response would be…

“Look, this conversation feels uncomfortable for me.” Or, “Hey look, this is something that is frustrating me.”

When you’re open and transparent about how you feel and can bring this up in conversations, it will drastically change the way others get to relate and connect with you.

They get to see you for who you are and they get to see the impact their words or actions had on you. And with that, your relationship will become stronger.

This is so much more beneficial than simply discussing matter-of-fact topics and leaving your feelings and emotions out of the equation.

In fact, being able to be emotionally transparent is a sign of high emotional intelligence, or a high EQ (emotional quotient).

And to throw in a fact, according to a study conducted by TalentSmart, success in the workforce is 58% dependent on your level of emotional intelligence.

Now, I hope you’re convinced and eager to learn…

How to Get Started.

My advice for being more emotionally transparent at work is to start small. Start mentioning your emotions into conversations here and there and then observe the results. The more comfortable you are, the more you can engage in this truly impactful practice.

WARNING: It is important for you to understand that expressing your emotions and feelings in conversations at work is completely different from reacting emotionally to everything around you. 

For example, saying that you’re frustrated is not the same as acting frustrated.

This is key to understand.

Because if you become emotionally reactive at work then that will work against you, rather than for you.

If you think you could use some help with your emotional intelligence, and start opening up more about how you feel at work, the good news is that your EQ, unlike the IQ, can change over time and with some coaching and work on your end, you can definitely make a change.

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