Many of us were taught to leave our feelings and emotions at the door when we come to work.

But this is an outdated approach and is contrary to the public sector values.

If you give emotional support in the workplace, you can have a positive impact on the wellbeing of your team members.

What we mean by ‘emotional support’

Emotional support is when you show empathy, compassion, concern and care towards others.

It helps you:

  • build a connection with your team members
  • give and receive genuine support

Why emotional support matters

When a member of your team is experiencing challenges, it may make it difficult for them to focus.

This may then affect their work performance, relationships with others and wellbeing.

There are a few challenges in a workplace that can lead to this, such as:

  • anxiety over mistakes
  • concerns about workload
  • conflict with others
  • how they feel they’re performing
  • job insecurity
  • personal issues at home
  • the emotional labour of work, which may feel high when we pretend or act different to how we feel

As a people manager you have a role in giving emotional support to:

  • acknowledge the impact of the challenges
  • explore options for managing the challenges
  • help them feel heard

Tools to give emotional support

There are many ways to give your team members emotional support.

Here are some tools you can use:

  • find out what it means to hold space for someone
  • learn about instinctive care giving
  • practise active listening