You Can't Have Engagement Without Emotion

Hannah Stampke
October 14, 2021

Can you have engagement without emotion? Sue and Janet Langley delve into emotions and how they drive our workplaces.


  • Janet Langley - Solutions Leader at Teamgage
  • Sue Langley - CEO and Academic Director of The Langley Group

Below, the transcript:

Janet Langley

Welcome everybody, thank you for joining us. Great to see some familiar faces or some familiar names there, welcome.

Looking forward to this session. Oh wow, lots of you joining straight away. We've still got a couple of minutes.


Sue Langley

It's wonderful to see some familiar names. We know that I haven't spoken to you in ages. Great to have you on.


Janet Langley

And please feel free to jot down in the chat where abouts you’re calling in from. It's always interesting to see where people are coming from. So yeah, please feel free to put that in the chat.

We will be using the chat and the Q&A all the way through, so by all means use that as much as you like and we'll be answering questions as we go through as.


Sue Langley

So Janet, where are you dialling in from then?


Janet Langley

I'm dialling in from lot 14 in Adelaide, Sunny Adelaide. Today it's beautiful. I think last time we spoke it was 14.7 degrees. We're definitely a little bit different to that now.

So how's everybody else going?


Sue Langley

It’s good to have you on Renata!

I'm dialling in from beautiful Suffolk Park near Byron Bay where it is a stunningly beautiful day with a little bit of a cold wind.


Janet Langley

So, Renata, how you going?


Sue Langley

Yeah, it's fabulous to see so many people are in Gabba from over in the Philippines, which is fabulous.


Janet Langley

And some names that are coming through that I used to know when we were working together, so that's always nice.

Alright, so we've still got a minute. Also, thank you for the messages coming through.


Sue Langley

Kylie from the sunshine coast. You'll love this little sunshine you've got there. That's awesome. Mariana from Hobart, good to have you.


Janet Langley

And Kylie again from Adelaide. Hey, how you going view people from Sydney, Hobart? Yep good.

Excellent, alright, well we might kick off. We've got a few people still coming in, so we'll just do the quick introductions and then we'll kick off and there'll be a few more people in I'm sure so yes, thank you and welcome for joining us.

This is a really exciting webinar for us. Always good to talk about things where Sue and I can work together. So of course, we're talking about you can't have engagement without emotion. So, of course, me being from team gauge, which is all about engagement and so obviously working with the Langley Group, which is all about emotional intelligence, positive psych and neuroscience and how webring that to life.

So together this is going to be a great webinar, so hopefully you'll enjoy it and you'll come away with a few tips and we'd love to know you know what you got from it and also you know as you go through, asking questions when we go through.

So, as I said, we will be using the Q&A and the chat, so please feel free to put your questions in or your messages in as they occur and we'll answer them as we go through or Sue will if you're asking her questions when we get into the webinar part of it. There will be a recording, so thank you for those that are listening through the recording. Great to have you on board as well, so we will get started.

My name is Janet Langley, I'm from Teamgage as you know.

Are you sharing the slide Sue? I can't, as hopefully everyone can see the slides. I can't see the slides, you know?


Sue Langley

Can you see that OK? Can anyone just confirm you can see the slides 'cause I've got some very weird greenery going on.

Janet Langley

I've got some lovely greenery as well. This worked 2 seconds ago.


Sue Langley

Well, you keep talking Janet and I will…


Janet Langley

All right, so I'm the solutions leader or leadership capability lead as well with Teamgage, so certainly very involved in team engagement and how our organisations are using teams. So, it will be really great to host this and again to see all your questions that are coming through and then we can let you know how that can all integrate as we as we talk through so.

I am going to give you a quick introduction about Sue a bit later on, but I do want to get you thinking about what this means for you. So, one of Teamgage’s goals is around ‘how can we help every team in every workplace work better together’.

So, the world has changed, we are doing things differently. This is a picture of our team having one of our daily stand ups. So, we were once all in a room together, now a lot of people are not in a room together, we're all operating through Microsoft Teams or zoom as we are today.

Yeah, so think about what's changed. We may be engaging each other differently, but we've still got the emotional context that's happening, so I want you to start thinking about what is that emotional context when you are going about your life and how does that interact with engagement, and again, we'll answer those questions as we go along.

So, a question for you to think about and I'd love you to put your comments in the chat about this, we will be answering them later on and I'd really like to see what these things mean to you.

So, what does engagement mean to you and what do you feel like when you think about engagement and exactly what could that look like? And then think about emotions.

I know I work with, or I deal with some people that wouldn't even mention the word ‘emotions’ and obviously with my background it's been all about emotional intelligence so you know many people I know and work with live and breathe, emotional intelligence.

So, I'd really like your thoughts on what emotions are and how they interact with engagement. And again, we'll answer those questions or go back to those comments as we go through.


So now let me introduce you to our very special guest, and if you haven't guessed, we are sisters. We do have the same last name and we are sisters, so this is really exciting.

Sue and I did used to work together a few years well, many years ago now actually, times lies. So, to give you a bit of an introduction with Sue she is the CEO of the Langley Group, as it says there, an academic director of the Langley Group Institute, so she is a keynote speaker, a global consultant, and a positive leadership expert. Sue does speak all around the world, perhaps not travelling as much as she used to around the world, but certainly still speaking around the world.

But the most important thing is that Sue specialises in the practical application of what this means. So, when we think about neuroscience, emotion, intelligence, positive, psych, how do we make that research into practical application that every one of us can put into practise? And I think that's one of the most important things. Sue uses herself as a bit of a test case and are search project if you like so that she can test out all of these things on herself first. So I won't say much more, other than to say Sue is probably the, well, she is the most expert at running webinars as well. She has the innate ability to be able to look at anything that's going on and still concentrate on what she's talking about and listening to everybody.

So I'm gonna hand over to Sue now and thank you so much. Sue over to you and please put your questions through.


Sue Langley

Thankyou Janet. I really appreciate it and it's lovely seeing the comments start to come through. Thank you, engagement I love that, mind and body are both alive, so we'll pick up on that and emotion’s energy in motion. I love that ‘E’ and ‘motion’ brilliant! And a couple of other things coming through around inclusive purpose, worthwhile, appreciated, and then emotions, how we perceive our feelings, absolutely.

So it is lovely to be here. Janet, fabulous introduction so we're gonna get straight into it. I will just say on the chat if you can come change your little blue bar to ‘everyone’ If you want everyone to see your comments or if you do have a question that you want to answer personally or anonymously, then if you send it through to either hosts and panellists or myself directly then I will not mention names but I will make sure that that we actually engage with those questions.

So I've been using this phrase for a long time now and I am a firm believer that you cannot have engagement without emotion. The two are inextricably linked so Janet asked you this sort of the question is what is engagement? And we've already got some wonderful comments coming through and there's some more coming through to Janet and I as well, so keep them coming if you think about what is engagement? And I love this one that's just come through- undivided attention and a sense of participation. Yeah, 'cause if we think about engagement, you can be engaged when you're reading a book and that is undivided attention. You can be engaged, hopefully now and participating, and it's the same thing when we think about engagement at work. Are we focusing on what we're doing and do we feel a sense of participation?

Uhm, inspired to go and actively participate at work. So again, that we've got that participation again. And thank you, Abby - an emotional connection. A connection to purpose - Catherine absolutely. And again Robin - connection. Isn't it funny. We've got this participation. We've got this connection coming through, connected to the team having fun. Thank you, Delina.

So fun, guess what? There's an emotion behind that, so thank you for that one.

Uhm, ooh! The hearts active intelligence sensing and feeling self in world around emotion. I love that one. Thank you for the person who sent that one through.

So when I thought you think about engagement, I've been thinking about this for awhile, but I've never actually looked up a definition until fairly recently and thank you Mel for your comment of a two way experience.

So what's really interesting when you think about work engagement, this is one of the definitions that's commonly cited that was in Forbes, and it's been used many, many times, which is: the emotional commitment that an employee has to the organisation and its goals. And I thought it was really interesting.

I've been using. You can't have emotion without engagement and you can’t engage without emotion for many, many years, but when I looked up the definition, It hen found that they actually say emotional: a commitment, so there is that emotional element to it and thank you Dani for your comment - when people feel heard, seen and valued, and again you've put the word feeling in there, we can't avoid this. If you think about yourself from a workplace perspective, think about how many emotions you felt in the last week. My guess, there were probably quite a few along the way where you are experiencing a variety of emotions and if we are highly engaged in what we do, chances are those emotions are probably more positive than negative, as in we feel valued, we are enjoying ourselves. We are potentially connected, as some of you have said, to that sense of purpose and meaning.

Well, guess what? That's part of that element of well-being, that psychological wellbeing. I feel connected. I feel there's a sense of meaning. I might be having fun. I feel a sense of belonging. All of these things are emotions, so my guess is all of us on this call probably felt a huge range of emotions in the last week.

And the important thing is, it's not about whether you work from home or work from an office. As Janet said, you know the way we're doing things has changed, but the emotions that we experience potentially are still there.

And if we think about that as an example, you might come if you're kind of overworking from home, those of you are notice that in Sydney or even in Auckland, and you might be kind of over it and you might be feeling lonely.

Well, guess what? That's an emotion, but what we might say is I'm not feeling as connected to my team. Or you might be feeling frustrated because you really want to get back to the office or you want to see people. I have to admit I think I'm gonna turn into some madwoman when I'm allowed to see people again, 'cause I just want to hug, hug everyone. But again, there's an emotion by behind that. The desire to feel connected.

So what we can't pull apart is this emotional component and I'll dig into that a bit more in a moment what I do want to talk about though is and again, anybody who I've ever spoken to before, you know, I always come back to this is we have to remember emotions are data, they’re information, and they're trying to tell you something. So if you are waking up in the morning feeling a little sick in the stomach, assuming it's not something dodgy you ate last night and you wakeup every morning feeling that way and you stop and you identify it and you realise you're kind of feeling a bit bored… That's trying to tell you something. It's trying to tell you, maybe it's time to challenge yourself. Maybe it’s time to do some job crafting or have a conversation with your manager. Maybe it's time to get out, who knows?

If we think about you, wake up in the morning and you feel that sense and - I love the comments somebody put in here about that energy emotion - you feel that sense of a tingle in you and you're looking forward to getting to work, whether it's at home or whether you are back in offices, then we feel that and that's potentially telling you that you're happy and that you're engaged and that you want to be at work and - absolutely Renata! This is the words that literally, I say all the time: emotions are data, they’re information. They're trying to tell you something.

And guess what? When you notice that you are feeling engaged at work, it's probably because you're having more positive emotion, which is data, it's information that's telling you that things are going your way. Things are working out, etc. So the wonderful thing about this is our emotions tell us stuff and it can really help us when we think about engagement at work. Whether you're trying to enhance engagement at work for your team members, or whether you're trying to be more engaged yourself.

So if we think about more detail around emotions and again as Janet said, I always like to come back to the science.

So if you think about why we even have emotions in the first place, they're therefor what they call adaptive value. So if you think about why we have emotions, they're literally to help us adapt. They help shift our behaviour, so if you think of emotions of data, their information they're trying to tell you something well. They're usually trying to tell you that you need to do something different.

So if we take a very simple example here and I could have used the old style, you know, Sabre tooth tiger sort of thing, but we'll go with the police car.

So if you are driving along and let's imagine you are not exceeding the speed limit, so you're driving along the freeway or something and you're doing pretty much on the speed limit, but you see a police car sitting on the side of the road, or you see one suddenly behind you in the rear-view mirror.

The minute you see- like you won't even notice it. It'll literally be milliseconds- but your visual cortex, if you like, processes that that's a police car, you will have an emotion and it will occur so quickly that you are not even aware of it until it directs your attention and thought and change your behaviour and you take your foot off the accelerator. And it literally all happens in millisecond.

The funny thing is you will still have that response until still trigger your foot to lift off the accelerator, even if you're not speeding.

Can anyone share with me in chat if you can, if you can resonate with that because it happens so quickly and you probably still get sweaty palms, you'll feel your palm sweat or your heart rate.

Thankyou Cassie. Thank you Lee -absolutely! And then you look down, you think I wasn't even speeding in the first place! But it happens, and it happens so quickly and thank you for the hands up here as well, this is gorgeous.


Thankyou Renata, I know it's old style so let's just think about this for a moment, this is why we have emotions. It's a process and it happened so quickly.

But think about this in the workplace environment, this could be anything. This could be an email that jumps into your inbox, so instead of the police car, it's an email that jumps into your inbox, possibly from an internal customer or a colleague or an external customer that you find annoying, let's say.

The minute that email hits your inbox, it is milliseconds. It's triggering something and potentially your response is delete or your response is file it all your response is urgggh! And, whatever happens to be, this is the way emotions tend to work.

Now again, this can be longer term as well, so if we think about engagement as a whole, this could be throughout your day.

It could be you're working from home, let's say, and you've got lots of things on your plate and they just keep coming and coming and coming, and you have a layering. One piece of data, as in one piece of emotion on top of another that causes you by the end of the day to go, I am exhausted. I cannot do this anymore, etc.

All you're seeing is data, data building up that's causing you to say yes. I'm engaged at work. Or do you know what I am so not engaged right now. I am so over this.

So think about this. This is what emotions are for. They help us adapt. They help us adjust. But what we often don't notice is the individual pieces of data. We just notice at the end of the day I am so sick of my job or I love my job. OK, so think about this.

Now the other thing I wanted to build into this is I wanted to mention the World Health Organisation. The way they speak about well-being.

So if you think about mental health and well-being, it's a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity. And the reason I just wanted to build this in is because I know we're here to talk about engagement, but I just wanted to touch on well-being because we know how closely well-being is linked to engagement and we know some of the challenges around well-being at the moment. But again, the reason I wanted to highlight this is to really highlight the power of emotions.

And again I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, if this is resonating with you, give me some examples.

So the World Health Organisation says physical, mental and social well-being is what encompasses if you like, mental health. But I put the emotional component behind it and here's why. And then I'm gonna ask you for an example of this in a moment, so be prepared.

So the emotional component I think is a huge underpinning of these three, and this is why: if I am feeling grumpy and fed up, I am not going for my walk in the morning.

If I am feeling sad and flat and lonely, I am hitting decline on my phone. Now that's just giving you a beautiful example of physical and social. About how the emotional state that I'm in is influencing those two elements of well-being so Janet, can you think about how sometimes your emotions play out and link to your ability to either do or not do those physical, mental or social well-being aspects.


Janet Langley

Well I think for me at the moment it has to be more of a physical one. I know I'm supposed to be getting up in the morning to do my exercises every morning and I was doing so well in the summer when it was light in the morning and it was nice to get out of bed.

Whereas when it's colder in the morning and I'm perhaps not waking up quite as early 'cause the sun isn't coming up quite as early, my emotion and my physical well, my brain is telling me do I really want to get out? And my emotions are definitely like this: this is cosy. I'm feeling comfortable right now. I'm going to feel uncomfortable or under pressure if I get out, so mental is the physical is what's really coming up for me.

And I think also when we think about the mental side of it, when we've got a day, or for me, when there's a day at work when I've got lots and lots of appointments back to back and I'm not getting time in between to follow up on my customers or to do that proposal that I meant to do by the end of the day I am, I am tired and I'm exhausted 'cause I haven't managed to find that time in between to give myself the break up which I think is really important.

And it takes me back to when I was coaching. I'd always make sure I had 1/2 an hour gap between customers, whereas now we're on, you know, zoom calls or teams calls. They're often back to back.

And so I think that's the mental exhaustion as well, that happens, which is great, that we can do that. It's fantastic that we can do that from our own home, but you know, there is an exhaustion there, so that's my 2 examples.


Sue Langley

Thankyou, wonderful. I'd love it if anybody got any examples of where you see that emotional component in particular.

As Janet said, you know when you snuggle down, you think, oh, I'm warm and I'm sorry and I'm happy. Well, why you gonna drag yourself out of bed into the cold?

But I absolutely find this from an emotional perspective. I know I've hit decline on my phone when I'm feeling sad and flat and down because I don't want to connect socially. Coming from an emotional perspective, if I am not feeling my best, I might not turn up very well mentally to a meeting and I might decide that I really want to wolf down the second or third or fourth slice of pizza that I really shouldn't be having, or the third glass of wine that I really don't need.

So again, your emotions will influence these from a well-being perspective.

And thank you for the wonderful comments coming through. Yeah, absolutely. When you're feeling negatively about yourself, we hide in our shell, don't we? Which is that social we pull away from people and brilliant.! There’s a lovely example through here as well, when self care declines and screen time, but this is again really important from an emotional perspective. If you are feeling sad and flat and whatever you then you tend to be less likely to look after yourself and absolutely screen time might be there because you're no longer able to what we would call self regulate. If you are feeling not so good yourself regulation is off so yes, you might skip breakfast, you might scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, which means then it's impacting not only your emotions but also your mental well-being. Thank you for those great examples and I love the comment about a meeting at 9:00 AM with your boss, sent the day before with no subject. Yeah, that will trigger in a motion absolutely.

All right, so I just wanted to bring that in for a well-being perspective because we know well, being an engagement are so closely aligned and well-being is such a big topic at the moment.

But the other thing I just wanted to touch on is some amazing really amazing research that sort of builds in how emotions influence us from a well-being and flourishing perspective.

As such as Barbara Fredrickson’s work around the positivity ratio, as in for somebody to have high levels of well-being, we would normally expect they would have roughly three times more positive emotion to negative emotion.

But we also know in organisations, and thanks to other fabulous Linda Robson, we've got the five to one ratio that actually we need five hits of positive communication to one hit of negative communication to have high functioning teams and higher team performance. And this is really important when it comes to engagement, because if we think about engagement, we can think of the holistic engagement and we, you know, sort of have a look at how our employees are doing and we might stick a number to it. But as many of you know, with Teamgage it's much more about team engagement. How are we working together as teams are teams really functioning well?

And the ratio of this tends to be 5 to one. So again, this is always quite fascinating if you listen in on team meetings and think about what's the ratio of your language. Now there is a lot more to it than that, sorry, just wiggle my toe.

There is a lot more to it than that, then just say nice thing, nice thing, nice thing, nice thing,  bad thing, so to speak. So there's a whole science behind this, but our communication can influence engagement just simply by the things that we say and all of this recording will be sent out afterwards so for anybody who's sort of thinking about the slides and information, we will make sure that all comes out.

You OK so I wanted to set the scene. Now let me share with you a couple of things.

So some of you who are familiar with Teamgage you will know that obviously they tailor their questions in line with our customer’s needs. But I thought I'd just give you a few examples of some possible questions, so I'll just give you a moment to have a read of these.

So when you look at these, there's some really interesting things. Now, as I say, I would just say these are possible questions, they would all be tailored. If you're familiar with Gallup Q12, which are standard questions you will probably see that there is always some themes, but what I'd like you to do when you look at these words is think about how many of these questions have an emotional element to them.

You cannot measure engagement without emotion and this is just a beautiful example and I just asked Janet for some random possible questions. I did not ask her where we were going with this but look at this: in the last week how much value do you feel our team has delivered?

So do we feel that we've delivered? Well, there's an emotion behind that.

Uhm, how well do you feel you belong? Belonging is a huge sense of emotional element. Do I feel connected to this team. Collaboration- when we think how engaged you currently feel in your team? I feel aligned to my purpose.

Oh sorry, yes Janet. Yeah, we said that we'd fixed that one. I'm not quite sure why anyway. Yeah, you're absolutely right. Yeah, thank you.

Uhm,I have this important guidance I need to perform my role successfully. So when we think about support and guidance, again, there's not an emotion in there but if you think about your conversations with your manager, for instance, do you feel that sense of connection, growth and development? Again, Is it stretching me? Is it pulling me towards something possible? Thank you.

So when we think about engagement, we know that emotions play out. And here's the really cool thing. There are some universal truths, shall we say or universal elements to the research around emotions. And I find personally this really helps me, it helps me as an individual for what might be going on for me and it also helps when I think about what might be going on for my team members.

So when we think about some of the universals - It was Gabby. You're absolutely right.

So when we think about universal, this is something really helpful to understand. So when we think about primary emotions, primary emotions are what’s called universal for two reasons, one is they are universal across cultures. It's one of the reasons I love playing in the space with the science of emotions, because it's universal across cultures. Emotions don't care what your sexuality is, your gender, your ethnicity, your background, your culture, or anything. We all experience emotions.

So when we think about the universal element from a cross cultural perspective and the best way I can think to explain this is there is not a single country or culture in the world where this (sighs) means happy.

OK, best way I can think to explain it is universal across cultures, we recognise it.

But the second thing, yes, thank you Richard. The second thing that's important here is to be universal, not only is it cross cultural, but it has to have a survival value.

So if you think of these six you can see on the screen here, guess what? They all have survival value.

Now, why should you care about this when it comes to engagement?

Well, if we think about these primary emotions, some of you who are really paying attention here you will have noticed that only one of those six is positive.

Just have a look again. Only one of those six is positive because unfortunately our primary emotions are designed to save our life and therefore some of the stronger ones tend to be the fear, anger, disgust, sadness etc. And surprises. Neutral and happiness is positive. So when you think about this, unfortunately Catherine we are having this negativity bias because it's the sort of thing that can save a life.

If you think about it, anger can save your life. You get angry, you fight, you hopefully win or at least push them over or something.

Fear can save your life, you run. Disgust can save your life; it stops you eating or drinking the dodgy milk in your fridge when you've been away for a weekend. Sadness is bonding. Sadness connects people. If somebody is sad that we care about, we will nurture, we will look after.

Happiness has survival value because again it bonds us. It connects us. Surprise is just there to tell you something unexpected as happened.

But this kind of gives us a few clues from an engagement perspective is we need to work harder because we've got like one in six chance of getting the positive. We have to work a lot harder, which is why those ratios from Barbara Fredrickson of positivity ratio and Robson around the communication ratio. It's why they're higher towards the positive.

It means as an organisation, if we want to increase engagement, we've got to work with the positive happiness, gain something of value. Things are working out. Things are going my way. That is the universal trigger to happiness.

Now I'll get to the individual in a moment, 'cause that's a bit trickier because the gain of value to me might be different to Janet. might be different to Rachel, might be different to Tui. He might be different to Brianna, etc. We all might have different things that we value, and this is the tricky thing about increasing engagement, which is why we need to cheque in with individuals, not just assume a blanket approach is going to work.

I just want to dig into these a little bit more. I'm keeping on time here because I'd like you to just think about these universal triggers a little bit more, because sometimes people think, Oh yeah, it kind of makes sense.

Sadness is the easy one. You lose something of value. You will feel sad again, doesn't matter your ethnicity or sexuality or gender, whatever you.

We will feel sad if we lose something of value. Now the important thing that we'll get to in a moment is the of value. Again, might be different to me, might be different to somebody else.

But the two that I would like to just draw your attention to, because they are way more common in the workplace than we perhaps think is on the right hand side of the screen.


Anger probably makes sense as in I’m blocked from something that I value something important or something getting in my way.

Now that could be that you've got a project you don't think you're going to finish on time you're getting frustrated 'cause it's like this is never going to happen. It could be you've got career aspirations and it doesn't look like you're going to get them where you are. You love your organisation, but you can't move forward, you can't challenge yourself, so you feel like something is getting in your way.

It could be as simple as you're in lockdown right now, and you'd really like to go to the gym. And you can't 'cause the door’s closed. So just bear in mind the blocked or something getting in your way, could be big, could be small.

Fear is again a fairly obvious one. Many people are experiencing, let's say, anxiety, worry and nervous etc about whether it's going back to the office, going on public transport, maybe you're worried you're never going to get to see your family overseas again? 'cause actually, I'm more worried I'll get to see my husband’s family in England before I get to see my family in South Australia, the way we're going here in New South Wales.

But what we see there is under fear, we've got things like anxiety, worry, nervous, etc. Now that's hopefully, if we're paying attention, that might be easy for us to pick up on.

The one that sometimes misunderstood is disgust, and I'd love to hear people's thoughts on this.

I'd like you to consider that low energy disgust is boredom and apathy. Just let that sink in for a moment. When it comes to workplace engagement, etc. Low energy discussed is boredom and apathy, high energy disgust is hatred. Now I'm not suggesting we've got people on this call who hate their job, but I am probably fairly sure we might have some people on this call that now and again are feeling apathy or bored etc.

And what this means when you think about disgust is its rules are violated or something or someone is offensive to me. Well that sounds really strong, but again, if you don't feel like you're able to go in the direction you want to go, if you keep getting thwarted at every turn, or if you think that sometimes people are not making fair decisions, and that's one of your rules. Then again, we might feel that.

And absolutely so thank you Peter, and it could be linked to particular potential expectations because there's always an individual element to these universal components.

Great example here from somebody and I love this comment, you know who you are. Being bullied or observing bullying. Absolutely. If you believe in equality and decency and courtesy and fairness, etc. Then absolutely, if you see somebody else being picked on, bullied, etc. That's going against your rules.

Disconnect with values absolutely. Disgust is a big one there, so just sort of bear that in mind when you think about this, 'cause it can really help us.


Thankyou, Abby. Absolutely, it's a really interesting one, and if you think about low energy, disgust his boredom and apathy. High energies. Disgust is things like repulsion and hatred and those sorts of things.


Thankyou, Danny. Thank you. It is often ignored because we don't want to think about it. And as I say, if you think about the trigger, this really helps me- I had a period a few years ago where I realised for about 2 weeks in a row I was waking up and I was just feeling a bit off and I recognised that my tummy was a bit churny and blah blah blah and disgust often happens in the stomach, so I'm like wow, this is weird. And I realised I was. I was bored. I was bored of getting home, getting on every Sunday afternoon, getting on another plane, going to do something the same. And I love my job. I love my work. I love the clients I work with, but I had a little period of time where I was like: I need to challenge myself. I need to shake things up because I'm getting bored, and if I'm getting bored, well guess what? On the other end of this screen you might be getting bored and I can't have that.

So it's a bigger one than you think. OK, sorry, keep it on time.

So consider these primary emotions. They're really, really important when we're thinking about engagement.

The other universal element I just want to touch on before we get to the individual element. And this is big right now, so anybody who's looking after teams this is probably one of the key theories that I keep coming back to.

If you haven't done work in positive psychology, you may not have come across this, but self determination theory is probably 60 years worth of research. Richard Ryan and Edward Lychee doing work around what they called basic psychological needs.

3needs- I'm going to explain them to you briefly, and they are considered universal. They are literally cross cultural and I'd love you to share with me your thoughts about how you think this is playing out right now about how people emotions are then being impacted, and potentially then their engagement. So autonomy, hopefully fairly clear. It's basically one of our psychological needs is for autonomy. We like to make our own choices.

When our autonomy is taken away, we will have a threat response. What does that mean? It means a negative emotion. I don't like it when my autonomy is taken away. When you give me autonomy woo hoo! I have a reward response. What's that? A positive emotion. I feel happy things are going my way.

OK, so autonomy is about my ability to have agency in my life to make choices to decide, OK?

I'm going to give you one example of this and then I'll ask you to perhaps share if you've got any others, but here's an interesting one I am feeling uncertain because I don't know what's going on in the world I'm nervous about what's happening, I don't know what's happening with work etc, and I feel like my autonomy been taken away because my organisation isn't involving me in any decisions, and I quit.

Now the weird thing about that is I've got way more uncertainty going to a new organisation that I have staying with my current one but guess what? I need autonomy and sometimes the way I get autonomy is to make the decision and quit.

We've got a client at the moment who's experiencing a lot of that, with people choosing to get out because it's a way of exercising autonomy, and we're trying to encourage them. You've gotta give that autonomy internally, because otherwise one of the ways I do it is guess what I get out.


So autonomy is one and absolutely Rinata. Thank you for your lovely comment. Some workplaces are reluctant and what's really interesting, we had no autonomy when it was immediately worked from home. It was like bang; you're going to work from home whether you like it or not.

But now what's really interesting is people are then being told to come back, and some are really happy to come back and some are like did we really like working from home and absolutely it will impact engagement because again you take my autonomy away, I have a negative emotion. I feel angry again, something or someone is standing in my way as in my work has just told me what to do. I don't like it.


Absolutely thank you. It is an interesting choice though. The person that sent that through and thank you for the other lovely comment link back to disgusted: when someone lies to you that you trusted. Absolutely that will play out all right.

So back to this list so autonomy this is happening quite regularly at the moment. If people feel their autonomy, their choice, that agency is taken away. We often want to get it back, and as I say that emotions play out here.

Yes, absolutely. And there's a great comment here. When people are working from home, it's a fine line between monitoring and micromanagement. Absolutely.


Uhm, languishing, yes, absolutely. We talk about that Mariana, if you there's, you'll probably find if you look if you do a bit of a search you'll see me doing a well-being session, you'll find it somewhere about the difference between flourishing languishing mental health mental illness. So email me if you get stuck.

OK, second one here is competence. Again, this is an interesting one. Competence is the ability to use my skills.

Well, guess what? That's why. Many engagement surveys, whether it's as teams or organisations, will have something that says, am I able to use my skills every day at work? Am I growing because competence is not just can I use my skills? As in is my skill set valuable? Is it making a difference? But actually competence is also about as I use my skills, can I get better? Can I feel like I am improving in some way?

Now again this is really useful to understand for engagement is during COVID, especially, a lot of people growth may have been put on hold because it's like, frantically, we've got a kind of fix things sort things, put new processes in place.

And if we haven't been paying attention to that, if we've put all the leadership development programmes on hold etc, it might feel that yes, the company is asking me to use my skills every day, but they're not necessarily giving me away to grow my skills as I go, so again, that's a really important point this competence.

Again, if you don't give me the opportunity to use my competence, I will have a threat response or negative emotion. If you do, then I will have a reward sensation, a positive emotion.

Just one thing on that with competence as well. Please bear in mind you might have people in your organisation in your teams who feel less confident because of the changes and that might be impacting their competence and their confidence.

So some people initially moving to work from home may have felt their competence hit because they weren't as familiar with using technology for meetings etc. So again, think about how that works.

Yeah, and Marianna is making a really important point about well-being. And as I say, one thing, if you're really interested, Corey Keyes’ model is the one you want to look at. So if you get stuck, Corey Keyes will give you some info on that one.

I want to come to Nick's point as well. Thank you. There's a couple of other lovely questions. Wilson, thank you for yours. Can too much reliance on team decision making impact someone's ability to feel autonomous?

Look absolutely. It can, particularly if they don't feel their voices heard within that team decision making, so team decision making can be great if I feel a sense of belonging and inclusion, I feel I've been heard, because then I might go, do you know what? I've said my part. I understand why we haven't gone down that path. I get it.

But if I don't, if I don't even feel that I've had a sense of-  and this is linking to the last one as well-relatedness at that sense of inclusion where my opinion has mattered, etc, then it can absolutely influence, and these three do work together. It's actually Corey Keyes, so add a Y to the end of the first name and at E between the why and the S on the next one.

So the last one is relatedness, which is our ability to feel like we belong. It's not just about diversity, it's about that inclusion piece, It's about that sense of belonging. Do I feel heard? Do I feel valued? Do I feel that somebody cares about me? Has somebody asked me genuinely if I'm OK and not just because it's? Are you OK? day, but genuinely they've asked me and they've really paid attention to the answer. Relatedness is do I feel like I belong in this team again? Do I feel valued? Do I feel heard?

Now the really great thing about this and it's really is simple. I mean don't get me wrong, there are thousands of research studies being done around the self determination theory every single day around the world right now and it says such a robust field, but it's really basic. People will have a positive emotional response if these three basic psychological needs are met. People will have a negative emotional response if these three basic psychological needs are not met.

Now that's really important again to think of from a universal element.

What I do just want to touch on, I've got a couple more things and then if you've got any questions or anything then and I'll have a bit of a chat and we can think about any questions that you might have is, yes, we've got our universal elements and we've got your individual fingerprint.

So what might this mean? Well, let's take competence for a moment and we think about the fact that if I feel that I am growing as a person, I will have a reward sensation. I will feel that I am, uh, feeling positive, feeling valued…Woo hoo! I feel happier.


OK, well that's great, but what about if one of the ways that my individual fingerprint is that I feel I'm growing incompetence because I want to go on a course. I actually love formal learning, stick me in a classroom, get me listening to things, go to a conference taking all this stuff. And I love that.

On the other hand, Janet's individual fingerprint is I want to do stuff. I want to be given a project that I can throw myself into that I can actually feel stretched that I can feel challenged, and that's the way her competence is growing, and I can see her giggling there 'cause I know this is probably how we would both go. I can sit for hours listening to lectures and digest it all and figure it out. Janet would be bored silly and off chatting to people and figuring out how she's going to build a new project or do something new.

So again, individual fingerprints are really important when we think about this.

So although those basic psychological needs, although those basic primary emotions are there, we also have to consider the individual fingerprint. And this is where conversations with your team members, measuring from a more individual or team-based element can be really important, not just data once a year that just says, oh, nobody’s engaged so we really better go up our numbers! But what are we actually doing to find out what's working for individuals?

So come back to this for a moment when we think of these primary emotions and think about what's the individual element to people in your team because you're gonna find that sometimes if you- actually I'll give you an example we're talking about this with my diploma group last night when we think about a sense of meaning and contribution…

Let's imagine you have an amazing corporate social responsibility programme in your business. And let's imagine somebody really loves the fact that when they get offered to take a day out to go and make a difference with an organisation, they feel they have gained something of value. It gives them a sense of meaning so they feel happy.

And then on the other hand, you've got this other person who is told every month they have to take one day to do corporate social responsibility with a particular charity that they're not affiliated with, and actually they spend every weekend with on a Friday night working with their community youth group on a Saturday morning  working with their church group, et cetera, et cetera and on Sunday, going to church and then doing something in the afternoon.

Let's imagine you've got that person. You ask them to do that one day a month, they are going to probably feel frustrated i.e., angry because every weekend they are doing something meaningful and they're giving back. They don't need their organisation to tell them what to do.

So what's really interesting is you can find because of that individual fingerprint, what excites one person may irritate another person. You do are structure. One person goes. Woo hoo! I might get a promotion out of this the other person goes, Oh no. I've lost my team.

Again, the universal emotion is there, but it's the individual fingerprint.

All right, there's some great comments coming through. Mel, thank you for yours. This is a really important point and thank you for sharing that. Yeah, especially those of you who are locked down right now and home schooling etc. You're feeling like your autonomy, competence and relatedness is impacting your professional. Absolutely, so you might be a very competent mum, but all of a sudden you're not feeling as competent at work 'cause John keeps pulling on you and wanting things, etc.

Your autonomy, absolutely! You haven't got a few cleared hours of your day, so you are not getting as many choices around this. And relatedness is an important one, and I'll just sort of repeat what I said around that, just for clarity's a couple of questions come through. Relatedness is that I need to feel connected or that I'm contributing, or that I'm making a difference.


So relatedness is about our connection to other people. Now I spend pretty much all my day in these sort of four walls.

My husband does have a separate office next door and sometimes I very rarely see him. Sometimes I don't even speak to another person all day apart from a nod and a smile down the beach. But I feel a huge sense of relatedness. I feel connected to my team. I feel connected to you right now and you're only typing this, so I feel that sense of inclusion, belonging, I feel like, I don't feel like I'm being judged, etc. I might be but, I don't know so I feel that sense of belonging. I feel that relatedness, that connection.

If you are working from home and you are feeling isolated from your team, you feel that when you send an email, nobody actually out there answering it. You feel that nobody called you in a week to cheque in with how you're doing. You realise that nobody actually asked you how you are when you've been on a meeting for the last week.

That's what we mean by relatedness. Do I feel included? Do I feel connected? But also do I feel that I am making a difference, that I'm contributing in some way. And yes, thank you yeah my emotional responses to the family is hard to keep from bleeding into work. Of course it is. 'cause that's what emotions are for. Emotions are data.

Wonderful so we will send out a recording of this so all good. OK so last couple of things and then I promise I'll shut up when we can answer your questions.

I always come back to my favourite, what's known as pure model of emotional intelligence. The MSCEI: perceive, use, understand and manage emotions. It gives us a really beautiful clue about when we are experiencing an emotion, what we can do with that.

Now I haven't got time to go into all of this, but I'm just going to give you a couple of questions to think about. And see how they think this links from an engagement perspective.

First question is: what emotions are you and others experiencing? Do you even know that? Do you feel appreciated and absolutely appreciated would be linked to relatedness.

So am I feeling appreciated right now? Am I feeling grateful right now? Am I feeling curious right now? Am I feeling engaged right? Am I feeling frustrated right now? Am I feeling distracted? Basically the first thing is what am I or others experiencing?


The second question we ask ourselves is how are those emotions directing or influencing our thinking? Well, guess what? If I'm feeling lonely, disconnected, frustrated, how is that influencing my thinking? Well guess what my organisation sucks. I am so sick of this. Nobody cares about who I am and what I'm doing. Blah blah blah blah blah.

Perfect, that is influencing my thinking. It’s influencing me to think negatively about my organisation, my clients, whatever it happens to be.


When we think about three, what's caused those emotions? Well, what has caused those emotions? Nobody called me in a week and asked me how I am. Everybody asked my opinion on meetings, but they never take it on board and I feel like I got shut out last week. OK, well of course I'm feeling frustrated. Things are getting in my way, or I've lost something of value or the connection to my team.

How do I manage it? Well, when we think about how do we manage your emotions and other people's emotions, sometimes it's easy when we're in a negative emotional state to say that they need to do something different.

But we also have to think about what do I need to feel. I did a session last week for a client in the UK on loneliness and they have a very high percentage of younger people who live alone and so they had a huge concern about loneliness and what's really interesting is one of the key things when we're lonely is we don't want to connect with somebody. As we said earlier, but guess what? One of the key things you need to do when you're lonely is reach out. But what we tend to do is we stew going nobody called me. But actually, one of the things we need to do to manage our emotions is to take action to do something.

I love that. Thank you Cassie for your lovely comment, I don't know… Maybe, I don't know how I could answer that one. I have to come back to that one and thank you Peter, for your lovely comment.

OK so couple of last things that I'm going to mention is again when you think about how this links to engagement, let's imagine you have a question that says do you have an opportunity to do what you do best every day? That's competence.

OK, so it's competence as far as our basic psychological needs, but we can use this wonderful EI blueprint to follow that. Well, how am I feeling about that? Actually, no. I feel a bit disconnected from people because I don't feel people are valuing what I'm doing. I've got all these skills and nobody is listening to them, nobody’s paying attention to them and actually you know what? Yeah, I feel bored 'cause I'm doing the same thing every day. I'm not being stretched. OK, awesome. How is that influencing my thinking with the using emotions? Well, it means actually I've become disengaged, I'm just gonna do my job.

Well understanding where it's come from. Yeah I'm not feeling stretched awesome OK, managing emotions what am I going to do about it? Well, I'm going to stretch myself outside of work. I'm going to pitch a new project and see what happens. Or, do you know what I'm just going to shut down and do what I do.

So the really cool thing is when we think about any of those questions that we might ask around team engagement, around organisational engagement, around individual engagement, this emotional component plays out.

The last thing: which pathways do we want to grow? What do we want to work on? Do we want to whinge and complain and whatever you or do we want to do something different?

How are we going to challenge both ourselves and our team members? And again, I always love the neuroscience. I did my masters in neuroscience of leadership and I always love to think about my neural pathways and what can I perhaps do differently and the really cool thing about the whole science of emotions is we can learn it. We can learn, we can practise, we can do these sorts of skills.


So I'm gonna leave it there. I would love you to think about your emotions and how they're playing out, but most importantly, I'd love you to think about what are you gonna do about it.


And this is the important thing that people are sort of talking about of how can leaders create team engagement in hybrid teams? Look, there's so many things we could talk about that. Thanks, Claudia.

If we think about how emotions influence our engagement, what responsibility are we taking for our own emotions? And also what tools are we giving people to help them take responsibility for their own emotional engagement as well?

OK so I will leave it there Janet. I'm gonna throw back to you. We've got some lovely questions that have come through and Cassie, I do love yours, I'm not sure I have any answers to that, but I'm Cassie if you're like me, I think you should keep being like me, it's good being like me, I like being like me.


Janet Langley

I'm not sure everyone saw that comment, but yeah, I would be happy to tackle that one. So I think there's a couple of things there so we had a comment about how, well, from Sue’s comment about our comparison about how soon would love to sit in a conference for a couple of days and she would be soaking up all the information and she would be able to transform that into the work that she does now and make it practical.

I'm definitely one of the kind of people I'm definitely not bored learning. I love learning, but I need more experiential learning. I'm not very good at sitting still for two days, so I'd like to be involved, so I think. This is where it comes back to that. Individual around the emotions, is that- how do you feel when you're doing certain things and how does that create that autonomy in that connection, all the competence and relatedness.

But one of the questions I had that perhaps relates to that is: when you think about that ratio, the five to one and we think about the survival where we've got, you know, four negative emotions and one positive and one neutral. It's obviously harder to try and find those positive emotions, so if we think about the autonomy, competence and relatedness, it almost seems like if you've got one of those areas that you're not connected to or you're not finding it, you're gonna have that apathy, boredom, perhaps moving towards disgust. If there's just one thing that's not right, but it almost seems like you have to get all of them right to feel completely engaged. What's your thoughts on that balance?


Sue Langley

Yeah, it's an interesting one, because if you think about the ratios the ratio's come in two scales so I always come back to the science is Janet said - I'd like to take the science and say what does it mean to me?

So from an emotional perspective, we know it's roughly three to one. If somebody is experiencing three times as many positive emotions to negative emotions on a daily basis, they tend to be flourishing, have high levels of well-being as opposed to the languishing word that we had earlier. So that's really interesting to know is what am I putting in my toolkit? What am I focusing on? What am I when I go for my walk in the morning, am I noticing things? Am I savouring things now? It might be that I have a terrible day there on after. But if I've put effort into that good stuff for the day, then that might be balancing my ratio, so that's the emotional component.

From a team based in a relationship perspective, the ratio has been found to be 5 to one when it's about things we say. OK, now that could also be things you say in your head of course as well. So yeah, absolutely. So what are we saying?

And again, I haven't got time to go into this, but it's much more simple than you just say nice things and then a bad thing. There's what's known as active, constructive, responding of how we do that.

So when we think about that ratio, our communication needs to be higher. Absolutely, graduate does play a part, Catherine, on the emotional component gratitude is an emotion.

So then if we think about what Janet's just asked about those three basic psychological needs, let's imagine you as my boss have just taken away out of my autonomy by telling me I have to come back into the office three days a week.

Now that might be that it's hit one of mine and I now feel frustrated. I have a threat response. I have a negative emotional response, but if I've still got lots of autonomy with what I do with my other time, how I schedule my day, I'm not told I have to come in nine to five. I can still be flexible, etc. Then it might not take as much of a hit.

So bear in mind there are many different aspects of my life. Competence. Maybe I've pitched a project 'cause I really want to stretch myself, It gets turned down. Where else do I feel that my skills are being valued? Are my customers valuing my skills? Are my colleagues, valuing my skills, etc. So it might not be as simple as one gets taken away, what might happen and what usually happens is an element of one gets taken away. So how do we perhaps leverage the others?


Janet Langley

The other thing that I was gonna ask if we go right back to the MSCEIT slide that you had with the four parts of the puzzle and you relate that back to the police situation, if we think about that in a work environment and I'm thinking about that from a leadership perspective, particularly with the leaders that we talked to with Teamgage, You know, imagine if you've gone into the room and you've shared your results, and there's a comment there and you've only got that microsecond. You see the comment. You might be a little bit shocked or annoyed, or frustrated, or angry, or disgusted, or whatever you've got that micro second to be able to do something with your emotions. And I think this is what we find quite regularly. is that how do what do we do? What's the practical application of that? When we've got that micro second ago, I'm pissed off I'm angry with this, sorry, and now what do I do?

How do I then calm myself down?


Sue Langley

It's a really good question and it links to a couple of the comments that have come through.

Danny, your comment about you know don't know when people don't feel safe etc. So when we think about emotional intelligence and again, I've got some research to back this up if anybody is sort of interested, but one of the things that I love, and this is what again Janet mentioned, I treat myself as a scientific experiment, for me, emotional intelligence is a skill you can learn and the idea is, any skill is the more you practise it, the better you get at it.


But there's some wonderful research that use the MSCEIT framework, where they ask people to take the MSCEIT test the … emotional intelligence tests, and then what they did is they put them in scanners and they asked them to wrangle with social emotional problems. So, just like Janet mentioned, you're in a meeting. Somebody says something and you, you know have a response or you see the results and you see one comment that somebody put in the teams meeting or in the qualitative questions of your results, etc. and you have an emotional response.

Well, they gave people lots of those social emotional questions, and one of the things they found that was really powerful is people who had higher emotional intelligence on the abilities model, not just their opinion, but on the actual abilities test got there faster. Now that's a phrase that I use in my head all the time is how do I get there faster?

I think this is really, really important because if I'm having an emotional reaction, whether it's over dinner with my family, whether it's my mother on a phone call, where I really want to tell her to shut up, whether it's a boss, whether it's a team meeting, whatever it is, if I'm having an emotional response, I want to get there faster. I don't want to have said something I regret and then tomorrow have to figure out how to fix it.

So Dani email me. It's called MSCEIT. I'll give you my email address at the end. I've put it in the chat as well so email me if you're interested. But what's really interesting is, again, if you think about engagement, I might feel disengaged because my leader has not asked me genuinely if I'm OK this week. Haven't checked in, haven't they've kind of asked that question - Yeah OK Yep. And then they've got on with the agenda and I'm actually feeling a little disconnected. A little sad about that. My relatedness has gone down etc.

And my emotional intelligence will be the difference between me sitting and stewing on it and saying I'm fed up with this etc or ringing my manager back and saying: do you know what, can we have a chat? I just I just need to have a conversation. I'm feeling disconnected. But if I don't have that sense of safety if I don't have those skills in myself, whenever you I am less likely to do that.

If they don't have those emotional intelligence skills, I'm probably not going to pick up the phone and say I really need to just say I'm not doing good today, and so it's really interesting. For me it's about not just that we know the answer, we'll all get there eventually. We'll figure it out, but I want to get there faster.


Janet Langley

Yes, thank you for that. That's really useful, really useful, and again, the practical application of it all and I'm really mindful of time. We've only got2 minutes left and I would have lots more questions if I had the time, but maybe I better not.

So I guess one thing I want to put in all of your minds is just to think about what's one thing that you can do differently after what you've learned today, you know what's one thing that you can put in place in the next 24 hours or practise or read about or do something. Very happy for you to share that in the chat, or else just keep that in mind and put one thing in place between now and the next 24 hours. So I challenge you to do that.


Sue Langley

And I will share assuming my screen is going to share beautifully again, I will share the last slide with obviously our contact details as well.

Janet Langley

Yeah, so look out for us and by all means email either of us. It's been a wonderful presentation. Thank you very much Sue, even though I've worked in this field for a long time, I still learn something. every time I listen to you so thankyou so much and I'm sure other people would have got lots and lots of nuggets of information.

So look out for Sue and if you're not already following on LinkedIn, she's always got webinars that are going on. She's got a wonderful programme. She's already mentioned the diploma of positive psych.

Also the learn with Sue programme. And if you want to connect with Teamgage and know more about how Teamgage goes about team engagement, obviously that's where the name came from, then by all means give me a call and we do have a live demo coming up on the 12th of October as well.

You will get the recording and the slides, hopefully in the next 24 hours and we would love your feedback so please let us know things that you've loved, things that you perhaps would be challenged by, and we would be really grateful for that. So see you next time, look out for all the webinars and thank you so much for joining us both and thank you so much, Sue.


Sue Langley

Thank you, thanks everybody for your lovely comments and I have a really cool new podcast called Learn with Sue where I just waffle on about this stuff. So if you want to hear more of my ramblings, come join me.


Janet Langley

It's a really good podcast, it’s great.


Sue Langley

Thanks everyone.

Janet Langley

Thank you.


Sue Langley

Now before we jump off, I know we've got people on, but before we jump off, I'm going to export the chat if I can figure out how to do that.


Janet Langley

It’s so good. The comments are coming through a really excellent. It's lovely to hear. Definitely feel free to contact us. And if you didn't get your question answers then please feel free to give us a call or email us.

So good, so many familiar faces. Thank you.


Sue Langley

And thank you, Claudia. It's not letting me do it, but it will be in the chat behind the scenes, so you'll be able to export it in the back end 'cause you're the actual host.

Bye everybody!



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