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How to handle negative emotions at work

Ishbel Myerscough

Negative emotions in the workplace are too often brushed aside – or even taboo. This is counterproductive and costly. Instead, be prepared to face up to anger, fear and sadness.

Few leaders handle negative emotions at work well. Writing in MIT Sloan Management Review, Christine M. Pearson offers her advice to help you deal with anger, fear and sadness in the workplace. She argues that ignoring negative emotions stores up trouble. Yet, if you learn to face them, you will have a happier, more productive and engaged workforce who are more likely to stick around.

There are many reasons for negative emotions at work: erosion of trust between bosses and employees, demands to do more with less, and relentless rapid change. But why are we so bad at handling them? Many leaders complain that it drains too much time and energy. Some are concerned that their interventions might make things worse. But most of us simply don’t know how to deal with negative emotions.

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