Understanding Your Reactions

SUMMARY: The skills in this area are designed to help you strengthen the following abilities:
  1. Identifying Your Reactions Accurately: Identifying, labeling and differentiating between a range of reactions.
  2. Understanding the Basis for Your Reactions: Understanding the potential causes and functions of reactions.
  3. Understanding How Your Reactions Impact Others: Understanding how what you say and do affects other people's reactions.
  4. Understanding How Other People's Emotions Impact You: Understanding how you are affected by negative emotional reactions in the workplace.

Individuals with strengths in this area can be described as:

  • Aware of their own emotional reactions
  • Skilled at differentiating between a range of emotional states
  • Mindful of how they are feeling at any given time
  • Comfortable with appropriately expressing a range of emotions at work
  • Understanding of the functions served by negative emotions
  • Able to pinpoint the causes of their reactions
  • Able to avoid personalizing others' reactions
  • Aware of how their reactions impact others
  • Able to anticipate the impact their behaviour has on workers
  • Understanding of workers who may be nervous or apprehensive when it comes to expressing their emotional states
  • Tolerant of intense emotions exhibited by others
  • Understanding of workers' emotional distress

Exercises and Activities

Building Your Emotional Vocabulary [PDF]
Knowing a range of words that express feelings can help separate serious problems from not-so-serious problems.

Emotional Contagion [PDF]
Emotions that are strongly positive or negative can lift or lower the energy of a team.

Emotional Triggers [PDF]
Understanding emotional triggers helps to address different situations.

Expressing Emotions Constructively [PDF]
Expressing emotions can impact how workers respond.

Monitoring Your Impact on Others [PDF]
Staying aware of how mood impacts others can help optimize leadership.

The Functions of Emotions [PDF]
Examining exactly what an emotional response may be communicating.

Tracking Your Emotions [PDF]
Gaining insight into emotional triggers.

Understanding Basic Human Needs [PDF]
Fulfilling basic human needs is critical for overall life satisfaction and can impact work performance.


Why Other People's Emotional Responses Impact Us [PDF]
Managing reactions more effectively by realizing that others’ emotions are a function of their own thoughts.

Myths and Realities about Emotions [PDF]
Next time we find ourselves feeling very angry at work, for example, we can stop to make sure that our beliefs about our angry reaction are accurate and fair.

Taking Responsibility for Your Reactions and Feelings [PDF]
Taking responsibility for our feelings and reactions can help prevent us from making statements that get us into trouble or cause unnecessary conflict.

Understanding Anger in the Workplace [PDF]
Although verbally or otherwise outwardly expressing anger may provide short-term emotional relief and the satisfaction of revenge, the long-term consequences can be dire.

Understanding Fear in the Workplace [PDF]
Recognizing fear and helpful and unhelpful ways of reacting can allow us to make better decisions when we find ourselves in emotionally intense situations.

Understanding Guilt in the Workplace [PDF]
When we feel guilty, our natural response is to do something to offset the feeling, to right the wrong.

Understanding Sadness in the Workplace [PDF]
When sadness sets in, a natural response is to withdraw from others and to dwell on the cause of the sadness. This can impact workplace performance.

Understanding Shame in the Workplace [PDF]
Understanding the different contributors to shame can help us identify the feeling when we experience it.