This is an excellent article:
How Emotional Is Too Emotional?
Nan Mooney, Inc
Mooney says women frequently ask what to do about “being too emotional” at work — I get this question a lot too, and have worried that, as a man, my response might miss the point… so I was glad to read this!
“Professional women are frequently tagged “emotional,” as if it’s a flaw they should learn to overcome. But emotion in the workplace isn’t necessarily a bad thing.”
In my varied career history, I haven’t found that women are more emotional than men on the job. We may be more comfortable expressing those emotions, since we live in a society that encourages women to be the feelers and men the thinkers and doers. But being quicker to key into the emotional aspects of a situation largely works to our benefit. It means we may pick up on a client’s or colleague’s unhappiness, make subtle adjustments in a plan or project to please everyone involved, and — best of all — form more trusting and respectful professional relationships.
The place where I think Mooney misses the mark is recommendations of what to DO about emotions. The central premise of emotional intelligence is that emotions are a resource to help us understand and manage the world — inside and outside. Emotions are information and energy — data and commitment. Emotional intelligence helps us access the data and tap the energy. When we DON’T do that, emotions well up and spiral out of control. Women and men are socialized to cope with “out of control” emotions differently (as Mooney suggests, bursting into tears vs pounding the steering wheel and cursing) — but it’s the same reaction.
The real secret is to access the information of the emotions – tune in, gain insight – and then use that data to make a better decision. When we do so, the energy of the emotions automatically transforms into a motive force toward resolution – that’s the power of emotional intelligence!