Riding the emotional roller coaster at work

roller coaster

Like in all other aspects of our lives, we get emotionally triggered by all sorts of external stimuli at work. I recently wrote a series of posts on how mindfulness can indeed help us ride what somewhat feels like an emotional roller coaster.
I work as a manager at an American IT company. Our company currently (and boldly) embarks on a journey whose goal (among others) is to transform and reinvigorate¬† the “human contract” between each of us and our direct manager. The expected benefit is for all to feel more empowered to innovate and take bigger risks. While providing more clarity on what we can all expect from the company and our management as well as what is expected of us.

The reason I am mentioning it is that we recently had a very interesting manager workshop during which we looked at how we could have more meaningful conversations with our team members. Things like providing better feedback for instance, which I wrote about several months ago.
You may say that this sounds like pretty “basic”, right ? Having more conversations with our teams, clarify our expectations, providing constructive feedback. Sounds like the right things to do, doesn’t it ? Well, just ask around you (friends, family, …) how much this is happening in reality, and you will see what I am talking about !
During that workshop, we used the slide below.










It depicts the first few months of someone joining his new company and … the emotional roller coaster he is going through:

  1. As a new hire, everything is exciting
  2. His manager is busy, and does not spend enough time with him .. which creates some frustration and inner conflict
  3. The company goes through yet another reorganization, and he starts to wonder whether it was such a great idea to change job
  4. His performance is not rated as high as he thinks it should have been, creating more resentment and anger
  5. But then, other things happen which will take him on the other end of the emotional spectrum (people being supportive and helpful, a great business trip looming on the horizon, etc, etc …)

Well, I am sure we can all relate to this new hire’s journey , and come up with our own examples, right ?

During our workshop, it was shown to illustrate the importance of having regular conversations with our teams around their “top of mind” : Performance, job alignment, personal aspiration or concerns, development, …
But as I was looking at this emotional roller coaster, I could not help but think (again!) about the benefit mindfulness can bring.
I really like that picture because it shows how much we all seem to be the toy of external “stuff” happening in our lives. And how helpless we sometimes seem to be.
I said it before but self-awareness and mindfulness are what can provide us both with the grounding and flexibility we need in those circumstances.

The objective is certainly not to flatten the line we see on the picture above and try to feel nothing ! But it is about being aware of what is triggered within us and not be carried away. So that our actions (well, reactions in those cases, really) are not taken out of anger or frustration for instance.
And that there is hope: our mind and heart can indeed be “trained” for us to live a more consciously life. And at work in particular.

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