Are you sharing your feelings at work? A lot, or just now and then?
I must confess it took some time myself to find a way in this. Just like many others, I’ve been raised in a time in which performance was very important. At school we’ve learnt how to study, how to investigate and how to work hard. How you were feeling seemed to be less relevant. We simply haven’t learnt at school how to share our feelings in a more competitive environment.
Most of us tend to only show the “good” parts of ourselves. It’s normal to feel uncomfortable, or perhaps even being scared, when expressing feelings affecting a work relationship. Most people have that. There is this mechanism inside us that keeps you away from this openness. Keeping things for yourself may feel more safe and secure. But face it, we tend to forget that people prefer to see real authentic you, instead of a “better” version of yourself.
Sharing experiences and feelings is a highway in creating openness and trust. By being real, you’re giving others permission to do the same. Imagine how much more natural it will feel, if you could express your feelings, instead of acting a role (some people are such excellent actors, they aren’t realizing it themselves). Imagine what would happen if your team members would be so much more open …
How to share your feelings at work:
1. Start sharing little things in small groups; expand your comfort zone step by step
The first step I had taken at the time I was a manager myself, was addressing my feelings in one-to-one situations. My current challenge is sharing my feelings with a much larger community. Opening my heart and sharing with my Connectives community sometimes requires courage. Yet, it gives me so much fulfillment and peace of mind.
It’s a step by step process. Start taking baby steps!
2. Start becoming aware of your body sensations.
You’re having body sensations all the time, but you may (un)consciously ignore them. Getting in touch with what you’re feeling is a wonderful indicator of how you’re doing. It often comes in a split second. Decide if you want to share or if you want to let it go. You don’t have to share everything, it’s up to you.
3. The actual conversation
Start the actual conversation. There is no standard format for this. However, you may want to include
- A moment for yourself to connect with your discussion partner. It will be a heart-to-heart conversation.
- Why you’re having this conversation (Such as: I really value our work relationship and therefore I want to share this with you …)
- What your feelings are and what it means to you.
- An invitation for the other to respond.
And yes, it means you won’t know for sure what’s going to happen next. Remember, these are your feelings. There’s no right or wrong! The more authentic you can be, the more they’ll have a sense of who you are and the more they’ll trust you. Plus, it’s an invitation for them to open up as well.
I’d love to hear your response. Let me know if you are sharing your feelings at work and if not (or just a bit), what’s holding you back?