The Redesigning Wellness Podcast

255: The Function of Emotions at Work with Karla McLaren, M.Ed., Founder and CEO at Emotion Dynamics Inc.

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Part of our job is guarding our own emotions and the emotions of peers. This emotional labor is rarely identified, almost never supported, or paid for, yet is a reality of the workplace. Asking employees to check their emotions at the door is not only an impossible task, but it also ignores a treasure trove of intelligence our emotions offer us. Podcast guest, Karla McLaren, is here to guide us on how we can guard our emotional wellbeing and how workplaces can harness the intelligence emotions offer.

Karla McLaren, M.Ed. is an award-winning author, educator, social science researcher, empathy expert, and workplace consultant. She is the author of many books, including The Power of Emotions at Work and The Language of Emotions, and she’s the developer of the online learning site EmpathyAcademy.org. Her applied work, Dynamic Emotional Integration®, is a groundbreaking process that reveals the genius and healing power within the emotional realm.

In this interview, Karla defines the emotional labor we experience at work and how the role of HR is not set up for the employee. She discusses the function of emotions and what the “negative” emotions can tell a workplace. Karla then offers ideas for how we can personally guard our emotions at work and how organizations can create a social structure that emotionally supports the workers. 

Episode Highlights:
  • Emotional labor is anything you do in the context of your work to manage your own emotions or the emotions of peers. It’s rarely identified, almost never supported, and almost never paid for as part of your job.
  • Emotions are a group of intelligences that underlie everything we do. Each emotion has its own specific flavor of intelligence that it brings to you. 
  • There is no separation between emotions and logic.
  • There are gender differences with emotions. Women aren’t allowed to show anger. Men aren’t allowed to show sadness or grief. All genders have been damaged by our socialization of emotions.
  • Looking at emotions as data helps with meaning making. For example, anger helps us understand what you value and if a boundary was crossed.
  • HR is working for the company, not the employees. It may be the last place employees go, as there’s a sense that it’s not safe.
  • We co-regulate each other’s emotions throughout our lives. We know our emotional regulation partners. Before unloading your emotions on someone – ask them if it’s ok! 
  • Conscious complaining has a ritual around it – both people agree on being there, each person gets 3 minutes to complain without the other person trying to fix or solve. 
  • Two signs of a workplace that is emotionally supported are: your emotions and sensitivities are noticed and respected; you and others feel safe and supported enough to speak the truth even if it may destabilize relationships. 
Links Mentioned:

Resilience for Self-Leadership

The Power of Emotions at Work

Free Emotional Vocabulary 

karlamclaren.com/

empathyacademy.org/

Full Bio:

Karla McLaren, M.Ed. is an award-winning author, educator, social science researcher, empathy expert, and workplace consultant. Her work revalues even the most “negative” emotions and opens startling new pathways into self-awareness, effective communication, and healthy empathy. Her applied work, Dynamic Emotional Integration®, is a groundbreaking process that reveals the genius and healing power within the emotional realm.She is the author of many books, including The Power of Emotions at Work and The Language of Emotions, and she’s the developer of the online learning site EmpathyAcademy.org. She is online at KarlaMcLaren.com, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Connect with her on:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KarlaMcLaren

FB: https://www.facebook.com/KarlaMcLarenAuthor/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karla-mclaren-m-ed-17b947a2/