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To resolve conflict in our personal lives, we often employ empathy and the ability to take risks. Now, more than ever, we must rely on these skills to overcome impasses at work and empower a thriving culture.

Harnessing emotional intelligence is at the core of sustaining healthy places to work and volunteer. Coming through the pandemic, team members of all organizational backgrounds want to truly feel seen and valued. The “Great Resignation” is a signal to all of us that we need to make changes in the workplace, and fast.

Emotions Create Pathways to Solutions

These past two years have exposed our societal vulnerabilities. They have also pushed us to recognize the crucial impact of emotions, morality, and fairness at the workplace. Working from home can feel lonely and unfamiliar. And returning to the office presents the challenge of reassimilating and reconnecting with others.

However, the beauty of emotions is that they mirror what is happening around us and establish grounds for guiding our response mechanisms. Emotional intelligence in the workplace means possessing the self-awareness to understand how we feel, and then how we act to produce the optimal results in our relationships with others. The more in tune we are with ourselves, the greater our capacity for understanding others’ situations and emotions.

The goal is to identify emotions in the workplace and choose responses that uplift others. When our colleagues are struggling, we can better recognize their cues and ask how to help. Know that sometimes we’ll need to be an advisor and sounding board, and other times, we’ll simply need to listen.

If a team member has an emotional outburst, let’s approach it calmly, genuinely ask what's going on, and help them navigate a successful path forward. In this way, we want them to realign with their better selves at work.

When we’re feeling impatient or unkind from the charged situation, we can take a pause and see our emotional response as a symptom for further self-exploration. Calling a time-out and asking ourselves what’s triggered this unease will help us find a better way to respond or apply a systematic approach to conflict resolution.

Honoring emotions allows us to understand each other at a core level. They grant us the insight to relate with (and not judge) feelings of frustration, anger, envy, and other normal emotions heightened with the pandemic. Our journeys are the building blocks to forming emotional cultures that will uplift not only those we work with but those who govern our organizations as our boards of directors and, most significantly, the people we serve.

Equally as important, when we are wrong, we can apologize, forgive, and begin again, giving our better selves the permission to come back into the room and propel forward.

Emotions Empower Thriving Company Cultures

Respond to the Great Resignation by establishing our organization as a great place to work that promotes emotional health and well-being. By doing so, we can tout ourselves as a platform for:

  • Building careers (not only hiring employees)

  • Achieving company missions and visions (not only getting the work done)

  • Creating a playbook for health and wellness at work (not only a boilerplate HR manual)

It’s vital to discern between the cognitive and emotional culture at the workplace. Whereas cognitive culture drives success-minded thought and behavior, emotional culture utilizes feelings and morality to fuel the working spirit and commitment. In sum, emotional culture elevates work through connection and not just measurable results.

Shaping an emotional culture involves creating a library of shared values, norms, and tools derived from the way our team actually responds. That’s right; it’s crucial to collect feedback from our employees about what sparks joy, connection, passion, and collaboration. Conversely, find out what feels boring, tedious, disconnected, unfair, or insurmountable. We can use this data to create an emotional company culture guide that is accessible and easy to understand and doesn’t leave room for misinterpretation.

By building the emotional brand of our organization, we essentially develop a unique fingerprint that identifies who we are and why we do what we do. We shape our culture by listening to the people working in it and making important changes fostering everyone’s success.

Putting It All Into Action

This is deeply meaningful work. It can feel daunting but know that tapping into emotions in the workplace is the pathway to building a healthier and more successful culture. I’ve built robust and customized toolkits for organizational leaders to help them develop an engaging and dynamic company culture. Feel free to reach out to me if you’d benefit from 1-on-1 support in creating a thriving emotional workplace and culture.


“Prior to this role, I had not worked in the Jewish community. As a coach, Rhoda helped me with my leadership and advancement in the Jewish field, helping me navigate the role, articulate and refine my management style, and shape the organization. She was really pivotal to helping me understand my emotional style and effectively govern the organization.”

-Wayne Green, Executive Director, Jewish Teen Funders Network

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