My Job was a Powder Keg that Went BOOM!!!


Does your job make you walk on eggshells, fearful of when someone is going to lose it or reprimand you for something you did? While it might not be the case most of the time, there are those jobs where emotions run high and it’s like a powder keg waiting to explode. Sometimes it is everyone in the organization, while other times it’s just the boss.

When the latter happens, it is difficult to work effectively, because you never know when the boss might blow. It turns into a game of cat and mouse, avoiding the boss, being stressed out that the boss might interact with you and lose it, and potentially not getting anything done because of the cut and run you might be doing.

When I experienced the powder keg, it was my direct supervisor and a couple of my coworkers who I had to tiptoe around. It made work very difficult for me. My stress level was so high that I called into work at least once a week. My productivity plummeted, and my desire to do the job was gone.

In retrospect, I realized what was happening in this job. Those coworkers and my direct supervisor didn’t have very high emotional intelligence, and in reality, it’s possible that I didn’t either.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to be in control of one’s emotions, being aware of how you are feeling, as well as being able to express that appropriately. At the same time, emotional intelligence also involves that ability to understand other people’s emotions and deal with relationships with others in a compassionate and empathetic way.

My tiptoeing around, and my increased stress level, were both indications that my emotional intelligence were not very high. My coworkers and direct supervisor losing it on occasion was an indication that their emotional intelligence was not very high.

High emotional intelligence is important in relationships, whether they are personal or professional, but it is essential for organizational leaders to have if they want their business to grow and thrive.

In fact, research has indicated that emotional intelligence is essential in leaders because this trait encourages interaction and collaboration, which are two extremely important aspects that help a business grow. However, interaction and collaboration are impossible in a situation with a low emotional intelligence leader.

Emotional intelligence increases:

  • Perception of emotions
  • Accessibility and generation of emotions to assist thought processes
  • Ability to understand emotions
  • Emotional knowledge
  • Regulation of emotions
  • Promotion of emotional and intellectual growth

However, emotional intelligence also does much more than this – for a business. When leaders have high emotional intelligence, subordinates are:

  • More innovative
  • Able to collaborate
  • Able to create
  • More effective

The good news is that even if you are someone, or know someone, with low emotional intelligence, there is a way to increase it. Of course, this takes time and reflection on the emotions that you’re experiencing. Some things to practice, however, include:


When you experience negative thoughts, which help encourage negative emotions, stop and try to understand why you’re thinking that way and why you’re feeling that way. Try to understand how you got to this point.


Thinking about what you’ve experienced and the emotions you’ve had as a result can help you learn how to change your reactions. The more you reflect, or think about things, the easier it will become.

Practicing assertiveness

Assertiveness can be difficult for some, me included. Often people think they are being assertive, when in reality they are being aggressive. The best way to show assertiveness is by using “I” statements. These include discussing how you feel, what you think, and even what you want and why. Being assertive is important and can really help improve your emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is important. It can help your personal or professional life, but it also has the potential to help get a business to the next level. For these reasons, seeking out ways to improve emotional intelligence can only make your life better. Just imagine the possibilities.


About Author

Margaret Murrow

Margaret obtained her M.S. in Organizational Psychology and Nonprofit Management in 2014 after spending a decade focused on homeschooling her four children. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Health Psychology and has earned a certification in stress management coaching. When she is not studying, she spends time working as a freelance writer and a certified stress management and business coach for employers around the world.