How to create an environment where remote employees are able to embrace emotion

We’ve all been told not to get emotional in the workplace. However, doing this as a manager can significantly help you connect with your local and remote employees. No one likes a stoic manager that they think they have nothing in common with. Remote employees want a manager who can show emotion to inspire their employees. So managers, instead of hiding emotion from your employees, harness it to personally connect with them.

This can be hard to do when your employees are not working from your centralized office, therefore, you need to find creative means to get emotion across to remote employees. With new communication technology, you are able to communicate with your remote employees through audio and video means. This, combined with a set trip to interact with your remote employees in person, will bridge the facetime gap that can be created when employees are not local to you. Just using these tools alone won’t create personal connection with your remote employees. In order to embrace emotion the following should be followed:

Intentions

The first step in embracing your emotions with your remote employees is to set your intent. Ask yourself what emotional takeaway you want to achieve. When you are in a meeting with your team, you are the one that sets the tone — the group affect, or team mood. If you come off as happy, then your remote employees will feel happiness, but if you come off as angry or sad, your employees will pick up on those emotions. Your mood shows in your body language, your tone of voice, and your word choice, so choose all three wisely.

Appeals

Embracing emotion also comes in the form of emotional appeals. Ultimately, you want to persuade your remote employees to take some sort of action. There are six principles that managers can use to appeal to their employees’ emotions:

Showing how people are similar to them. Managers can appeal to remote employees by expressing emotional experiences where managers were solving similar problems to them.

Showing consistency. Telling your employees to embrace emotion isn’t enough. Managers need to be vulnerable and able to share emotions themselves in order to show consistency in practice.

Respecting authority. A phrase like “Our CEO’s goal is to increase customer loyalty with this project, it is our job to create this result” shows communication from managers to employees about important company matters.

Wanting more of something when it’s scarce. Employees will likely reply to managers who communicate something like, “If we don’t launch our product now, customers will reallocate their year-end budgets” to emphasize the importance of the task at hand.

Taking action when others are. Show that the actions of the department reflect what others are doing across other teams and the company. “Everyone in this department is communicating this way.”By embracing emotion, these actions will give your employees a sense that they can trust you and see where your priorities, behaviors, and commitments lie. As a manager, it is important to be transparent about your emotions with your employees. Remote employees want a manager who can honestly embrace emotion as a means of communication, no matter how good or bad.

Humanization

Emotions humanize managers to make employees remember that they are people too and have options and feelings on current issues in the workplace. Employees just want someone they can bond with over shared issues. When it comes down to it, remote employees want managers who can express the same feelings they do and use them to make a change. Remote employees want empathy, as managers were once where they were. They want to feel like they aren’t alone when navigating the workplace. A manager should not only be a manager, but a mentor to aid in advocating for them and helping them reach their career goals.

Personal connection by way of embracing emotion is key for managers. While it may seem hard to convey emotion, it is welcomed by employees. It is the best way for managers to share a piece of themselves and their opinions with their team.

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