Emotional Expression

The next of the five pillars of emotional intelligence is Self-Expression. This is made up of the three subscales – Emotional expression, Assertiveness and Independence.

“Smile and the world will smile with you.”

Self-expression is the outward and active expression of a person’s self-perception. It is how one faces the world. It looks at the outward expression and action of one’s internal perception. Assessing your ability to remain self-directed and openly expressive of your thoughts and feelings. All whilst communicating your feelings in a constructive and socially acceptable way.

Emotional expression relates specifically to how well people can express their emotions outwardly. People express their emotions in many ways. Example, verbally and non-verbally. In what they do, say, and how they say it. Example, through their body language and facial expressions. It is also important to remember that things like Botox, can actually potentially stunt emotional facial expressions.

Emotional Expression

High Range vs Low Range Emotional Expression

People who fall within the high range of emotional expression are usually more able to express their emotions. Their outward expression matches what they are feeling internally, so that others can see and understand what they are feeling. They come across as more “real.” These qualities can help them to develop well-rounded and grounded relationships with others.

They are also able to express their emotions in a contextually appropriate manner. A good example of this could be if someone is feeling angry towards someone else at work. They can explain this to the other person calmly without ‘blowing up’ or shouting inappropriately. This allows the individual to get what they are feeling ‘off their chest’ and move forward. This is the basis of healthy emotional expression within interpersonal relationships.

In contrast, people who fall within the lower range of self-expression may find it difficult to express what they are feeling. For this reason, others may not be able to ‘read’ them. Their outward expression may be very different from the emotions they are feeling. Appearing fine on the outside, but very angry and frustrated on the inside. It is possible they may come across as withdrawn or non-communicative. To some people they may appear as an ‘enigma.’

They may react to situations inappropriately. For example, anger could be overly expressed with shouting and throwing things around. On the other hand, they may not express any emotion or dissatisfaction at all. This may actually also hinder their ability to develop good interpersonal relationships.

Impact In The Workplace

If we consider how much time we spend at work, it is totally natural and imaginable for people to bring their emotions into the workplace. How effectively people can manage and express their emotions will affect client interaction, team cohesiveness and ultimately organizational success.

Leadership example

How a leader expresses their emotions will impact have a massive impact on how the rest of the team functions and the overall results they may achieve.

A leader who can effectively and with volition expresses their emotions, is more likely to connect with their team. Better able to explain what they want and expect in a deliberate and effective way. Team members may also be more likely to seek feedback from management where necessary, as it will be delivered in an emotionally balanced way.

Having a leader who can effectively and appropriately express their emotions helps other team members do the same. Creating a stronger interpersonal connection within a team.

Example: In the case of a customer complaint about the team, the leader is more likely to discuss this calmly with the staff member. They may express their displeasure, but it is done appropriately, without making it personal, and with the overall aim of improving things in the future.

Leaders in the lower range of emotional expression, may find that their teams feel more inhibited to express their emotions to them. Example, not feeling comfortable with discussing a challenging situation with the leader, as they are fearful of the leader’s emotional response. Imagine working for someone that when you tell them something went wrong, they immediately shout at you and call you an idiot. Obviously, that is not the way to effectively lead a team or speak to anyone for that matter.

Leaders with lower range of emotional expression, may also come across as cold and uninviting. Leading to an unproductive and possibly fearful workplace environment.

Team example

In any team it is normal for problems to arise from time to time. When this happens, it is important for individuals to problem solve in a constructive way. When team members fall in the higher range of emotional expression, they are more likely to express both satisfaction and dissatisfaction to each other amicable so they can find ways to improve and move forward. This helps create an environment where staff feel they can express themselves, their emotions, and their ideas openly.

A team of people who fall in the lower range of emotional expression may find it difficult to work together, because they find it hard to really understand each other. Example, when interpersonal challenges arise between staff members, they may be dealt with inappropriately. Example, someone may respond to the situation in an aggressive or other inappropriate way. Leading to unresolved issues, poor interpersonal relationships and affecting overall team morale.

“People are like stained glass windows, they sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”
– Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Develop Greater Levels Of Emotional Expression

It may not be immediately obvious how important emotional expression is in the workplace to team cohesiveness, productivity, and leadership styles. However, the examples above show just what impact differences in emotional expression can have on staff and teams.

Within any team, you will have individuals with varying ranges of emotional expression. Differences within teams will impact the working environment. Having team members and leaders who are aware of and understand their own emotional intelligence can be highly valuable. They are more likely to work towards cohesive and productive working relationships.

If you feel that this is an area that you or someone you know may want to work on, then help is at hand.
On completion of the emotional intelligence assessment, we will work together to understand where you may sit on each of the subscales of EI. We can then work with you to increase the specific areas that you feel will have the most immediate and positive impact in your life.
The emotional intelligence assessment is done online and followed up with a face-to-face coaching session, which can be done via Zoom or in person.
Working on one’s EI can lead to significant positive results in all areas of life. Not only making one over all happier, but more effective and approachable
It all starts with a simple yet immensely powerful online assessment.
To find out more about how your organization can benefit, contact us today for a no-obligation conversation.