Handling Emotions Under Pressure


In today’s high-pressure work environment, emotions are bound to erupt. The challenges are to prevent them from building to the point where they inhibit rational and productive interactions, and to transform them from negative outbursts into positive opportunities for solving problems.

An emotional outbreak is often a cue that a problem is affecting an employee’s ability to work effectively. When others are able to deal with the emotion and move the discussion forward, a solution is more likely to occur.

This unit gives participants a process for handling the emotions in daily work situations. They learn to remain calm and objective, to recover quickly and to help others do the same, and to take charge in difficult circumstances to keep the discussion moving forward.


  •  Explain why emotions are normal, and can even be helpful, in work situations.
  •  Identify situations in which emotional behavior is inhibiting productive discussion.
  •  Explain why the ability to maintain composure at work, or to regain it quickly, is an important skill.
  •  Identify ways to manage their own reactions to the emotional behavior of others.
  •  Use appropriate techniques to diffuse emotional behavior when it hinders

Key Actions:

  •  Acknowledge the person’s emotion and describe its impact.
  •  Invite the other person to share thoughts and feelings.
  •  Determine whether continuing the discussion is appropriate.
  •  Listen to understand.
  •  Probe to uncover underlying issues.
  •  Communicate your understanding.
  •  Help the person move on.