Emotions in Check

Dear Dr. Lisa:

I am a senior executive and have just inherited a large organization. My role has expanded significantly. I am excited. I do worry because sometimes I am criticized for being highly emotional. I get the big picture and I know the business. That is not in question. It is just that my emotion tends to get fully expressed, whatever it is, and that makes folks uncomfortable. I am cognizant of that and am really trying manage it. How can I put my emotions in check as I engage with my colleagues?


Emotions in Check


Dear Emotions in Check:

You, like so many other women, find yourself in a bind. Colleagues like you and appreciate what you offer, but when you get emotional, there is discomfort. What would happen if you just relaxed and allowed your emotions to be what they are? What if you owned them and explained to colleagues that you can be emotional, and what you like about the firm and the team is being able to bring your whole-self to work – that includes your fully expressed and somewhat charged emotions? What if you helped them understand that there is no need for discomfort or alarm? If you need to take a break, you will, and there is nothing for them to do.

You may recall that Speaker Boehner would get quite emotional. He is a man, and everyone seemed to just accept that’s how it would go. Here’s the deal – you either have to decide to stand fully in it unapologetically as a trait that makes you brilliantly you, or you have to figure out how to manage it completely. I don’t see any middle ground on this one. Let ’em know or try hard not to do it. You have to decide. Either way, be true to yourself. That’s when you will do your best work.

Dr. Lisa
P.S. Your theme song is, “I Gotta Be Me” by Sammy Davis Jr.



Comments 2

  1. mmh
    January 31, 2020

    Authenticity often lies in doing the hard thing– being you and owning your self and how you show up. I love that you offer to stand in your emotions and own them– don’t let them or others discomfort with them own you. I have tried explaining my emotions or more my word choice– i used to say “this is concerning” or “i am concerned” and did not realize this was an emotionally charged word for my team/leader. Once i explained that concerned didn’t mean escalated it meant i feel it or it raises my feeling, it was good. I sometimes chose a new word and brought my emotions level and other times not. Thanks for the advice!

    1. Dr. Lisa Toppin
      May 11, 2020

      Thank you for your comments!

Write a comment