Crying in the bathroom is not going to cut it in the workplace of the future. If you believe you are living within a culture of suppression, where vulnerability (exposure of emotions) is seen as weakness, you have to think about what impact is that having in your health and general well-being.
In this research, when making time to reflect and digging deep into what emotions were overwhelming people individually, the teams grew more empathy for each other. Giggypop team and I connected when reflecting and that connection stayed present past that workshop.
Our team leader, Alice, normalised emotions and the Giggypop team was able to be empathetic to each other on a things like becoming a co-founding member or not, or choosing to take a step back from the project. We did not snap at each other when we failed to hit certain targets, instead we asked if there was any way we could support each other. Emotional intelligence, emotional exposure and accepting that we cannot leave emotions at work will be crucial to design cultures we thrive in. But working isolated in developing VEUG will not be enough if our workplace (and our leader) is not facilitating the right mindset and examples.
It is obvious in the industry discussions I had that we have been conditioned to not be our fully expressive selves in the workplace. Nehal Ahmed told me about how different it was to freelance from home where she felt "free" versus working in the office where she was "constantly aware of people around her and making sure she behaved in an acceptable manner
" (Ahmed, 2016).
Individuals need to evaluate whether or not they can make space for emotions in their daily interactions with colleagues and leaders. If they can't, then they need to notice in which other area of your life (that is not work) are emotions manifesting themselves. Emotions will push through one way or the other according to the research.What about conflict?
To help individuals with this task, I have created "Susan Wheelan's Bikers Club
". Susan Wheelan's four stages of team development changed the game for me and for the teams we shared it with. Understanding in which stage you are with those around you helps you have a more proportional reaction, embrace conflict and work through each stage with an aim set on productivity. Knowing theres a "path" or a wheel you're on, with different stages, helps individuals not avoid conflict, but face it.