“Feelings” in the Workplace 

A common issue we all run into at work is other people’s “feelings”. My quotation marks are not meant to diminish the legitimacy of hurt feelings, but rather to encompass a wide range of emotional disturbances that are common. Zooming in, though, a common set of feelings we all have to address is the issue of feeling valued, appreciated, “in the loop”, and part of the team. To address those feelings, or problems with them, here are some tips from a proactive perspective. 

Be clear on the mission, vision, and values

A lot of hurt feelings come from a lack of joint clarity on purpose and principles. The organization owes it to its current and future employees to be crystal clear on how and why it does what it does. That clarity is accomplished through documented and lived mission statements, vision statements, and values lists and statements. If yours aren’t up to date (or are nonexistent!), you may be setting yourself up for some hurt feelings.  

Ensure proper personality-job fit

Personality-job fit refers to the part of the selection process that ensures alignment between the candidate’s values, attitudes, and personality characteristics and the qualities necessary to perform the job effectively. At the organizational level, person-organization fit refers to values compatibility. Ensuring proper, valid, and reliable selection tools and criteria to assess person-organization and personality-job fit is critical to preventing future feelings problems.  

Establish clear performance expectations 

Our people deserve clarity on what is expected of them in their jobs. All organizations should establish clear performance expectations, the key performance indicators and other data used to measure performance, and a clear vision of desired results. These things are typically defined in the annual performance appraisal process. If you’re not using these tools, you may have some hurt feelings soon. 

Communicate Proactively 

Many organizations communicate in a very UNcollaborative, reactive, and non-transparent way. Once again, people deserve proactive communication, provided transparently, about organizational goals, strategies, and visions, structural changes that may impact them, and performance issues they should address. To communicate reactively, after to fact, or when it’s too late for the employee to address the issue is a setup for hurt feelings. 

Nothing earth-shaking here, unfortunately. The solutions are usually just radical common sense. Preventing hurt feelings in the workplace is pretty straightforward, requiring only a little intentional planning and communication. Check your systems out, if you haven’t lately, to make sure they are set up for positive, supportive feelings. 


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Craig A. Escamilla
Craig A. Escamilla
Craig Escamilla helps you find solutions before problems exist. With fifteen years of consulting, teaching, and senior management experience, Craig brings a wealth of practical expertise to helping others work on rather than in their businesses.

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