Is your workplace healthy and emotionally well-regulated?

Cover of the book The Power of Emotions at Work by Karla McLaren, M.Ed.We've all been in jobs where the work was fine and the pay was good, but the emotional environment was uncomfortable or even miserable. This is sadly a common occurrence, because emotions are thought to have no place in the working world. Thankfully, this mistaken idea is being challenged, but the workplace as an entity doesn't yet understand how to create emotionally well-regulated environments for its workers.

A badly managed emotional atmosphere reliably leads to a loss of productivity and an increase in absenteeism and burnout. If the emotional environment is miserable, it can stifle creativity and collaboration, make good employees leave, and create an unacceptably high turnover rate. Of course, many organizations don't have the information they need to build a healthy workplace environment, and that's why outside support is often necessary.

In our Emotional Dynamics at Work® consulting process, you and your team can develop the awareness and skills that support a truly healthy workplace. Whether you're a community of engineers, social workers, construction workers, customer service professionals, medical professionals, financial analysts, or an organization involving many different occupations, your social structure can mean the difference between struggling and success. 

Many organizations are seeing unprecedented numbers of resignations (including the Great Resignation), or are unable to fill open positions, and this is not only due to insufficient pay, but also to poor working conditions and an unhealthy social structure where people cannot do their best work.

The workplace has not traditionally been an emotionally or empathically healthy place, but it needs to be. Fortunately, there is a way to access the power of emotions and empathy at work.


If your emotional environment is not well-regulated, it can stifle creativity, reduce effectiveness at every level, and make good employees leave.

People are finally realizing that listening, perspective-taking, and Emotional Intelligence (EQ) are not “soft” or dispensable workplace skills. Today’s fast-paced, multinational, and multicultural workplace requires EQ, strong relationship skills, and the ability to combine multiple perspectives into a unified vision that works for everyone.

A clear understanding of emotions can be the foundation for strong relationships, successful team collaborations, conflict resolution, and the ability to deliver meaningful results.

This new workplace dynamic is very hopeful, but what is often missing is the understanding that all of these skills add up to empathy. Empathy is an essential skill, yet if empathy is required but not supported in your workplace, then a new form of difficulty may lead to conflict, burnout, and unnecessary turnover.

An empathic workplace is a great leap forward. However, empathy work is skilled work, and every workplace needs to have best practices in place to support this very real work. When your workers have the support they need, an emotionally and empathically responsive workplace can support everyone.


Understanding the emotional dynamics in your workplace

Researcher and empathy pioneer Karla McLaren, M.Ed. brings a deep understanding of empathy, emotions, and the workplace to her groundbreaking Emotional Dynamics at Work® consulting process.

This individualized and responsive process is designed specifically for organizations wanting to enhance – intelligently and sustainably – the current level of EQ and healthy empathy in individuals, in work teams, across departments and divisions, and with current and prospective clients.

This one-of-a-kind approach is based on the principles taught in Karla McLaren’s award-winning books: The Power of Emotions at Work, The Language of Emotions, and The Art of Empathy. This work is fully adaptable to the unique needs of individuals, teams, and organizations.

In this engaging and respect-based process, work teams and individuals can develop:

  • EQ skills and awareness for themselves, with their colleagues, and throughout their workplace.
  • A clear understanding of emotional labor, emotion work, and empathy work and their effect on well-being, communication, and productivity.
  • The capacity to address differences, mistakes, inconsistencies, and conflicts with skill and empathy.
  • Processes to identify and alleviate empathic burnout to avoid absenteeism, loss of productivity, and unnecessary turnover.
  • Empathic approaches to intra-team, intra-departmental, and intra-division communication.
  • Strategies for healthy client support and the facilitation of sustainable empathy.
  • Empathically intelligent outreach to new clients and new markets.
  • Skills to cultivate and support an emotionally well-regulated workplace.

Emotional Dynamics at Work® is based upon:

  • A research-based definition of emotions and their benefits that inspires people to work with emotions rather than working against them.
  • A 5-step Emotion-to-Action process that teaches people how to interpret the vital information emotions contain so that they can respond skillfully to all of them.
  • Four keys to emotional clarity that illuminates the power and genius in the emotional realm. With these keys, individuals and teams can function with a greater degree of agility, harmony, and skill.
  • Specific instructions for skillfully addressing the four main categories of emotions: Anger, Fear, Sadness, and Happiness
  • A groundbreaking model of empathy that helps people understand the intentions, actions, and behaviors of themselves and their colleagues, clients, customers, and managers.


The Emotional Dynamics at Work Team®

Photo by Michael Leras Pictures

Karla McLaren, M.Ed.

Karla McLaren is an award-winning author, social science researcher, and empathy pioneer who can quickly identify the emotions, relationships, strengths, and challenges in social groups — and then develop skills and systems to help groups flourish.

Her work focuses on her grand unified theory of emotions, which revalues even the most “negative” emotions and opens startling new pathways into self-awareness, effective communication, and healthy empathy. She is the CEO of Emotion Dynamics Inc. and the founder of the Emotional Dynamics at Work® program.

Karla’s research into the processes involved in empathy led to her original Six Essential Aspects of Empathy model that makes all of the steps in empathy easily understandable, accessible, and attainable. This fully-realized model teaches people how to access, develop, and manage their empathy intentionally and intelligently.

Karla is a Certified Human Resources Administrator and a Certified Career Testing and Guidance Facilitator, and the author of The Power of Emotions at Work (2021), the author of The Dynamic Emotional Integration® Workbook (2018), The Art of Empathy: A Complete Guide to Life’s Most Essential Skill (2013), The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings are Trying to Tell You (2010), and the Dynamic Emotional Integration® licensing curriculum at

Karla’s interests include occupational sociology, linguistic anthropology, antiracism, neurodiversity, and disability rights. Her assessment and consulting approach focuses on creating livable, workable, and inclusive environments that treat individuals with respect, empathy, and dignity.


The Emotional Dynamics at Work Team®

Marion Langford, M.Ed.

Marion Langford, M.Ed. is a workplace consultant, facilitator, and organizational development specialist with over thirty years of experience in the field. She is a dual-licensed Dynamic Emotional Integration® Trainer and Consultant, and has been working with Karla McLaren since 2015.

Marion’s areas of expertise are leadership development, team collaboration and dynamics, and the cultivation of healthy empathy and effective emotional skills in the workplace. She also focuses on the communication practices that can support healthy relationships and healthy workplaces.

Marion has focused much of her work on high-empathy-demand (and high-burnout-producing) workplaces such as nonprofits, healthcare organizations, and social service agencies, where she helps working communities develop the support systems and awareness empathy workers require. She is the founder and CEO of the consultancy firm Creative People Solutions, and she is online at

The Emotional Dynamics at Work Team®

Photo of Tino Plank, a smiling, middle-aged caucasian man with a short beard, a balding head, green eyes, and glasses.
Photo by Tia Gavin

Tino Plank, MA, MSN, RN

Tino Plank, MA, MSN, RN has advanced degrees in nursing and multicultural spirituality, as well as an extensive background in program development and process improvement.

Tino is a former nursing faculty member at the University of San Francisco where he was at the forefront of integrating healthcare innovation into practice.

Tino currently works as a nurse educator in end-of-life care, and previously as a hospice grief counselor. In those roles, he has witnessed both the beauty and the down-side of empathy and emotional labor: Empathy and emotional engagement can empower caring interactions, yet if these aren’t healthy and intentional, both can contribute to professional burnout.

For over twenty years, Tino has worked with Karla McLaren to develop the Dynamic Emotional Integration® process. He has also been an instructor in classroom and on-line environments for over ten years, and he is the co-creator of the Healthy Empathy® consultation process for health and healing professionals.


Emotional Dynamics at Work® Assessment & Consulting

Each organization and workplace is a unique world that requires individualized focus and attention, especially in regard to the often-hidden emotional and empathic labor its workers perform. The offerings below help us learn about and address the specific situations and needs of your organization.

All of our work together follows the empathic design process of gathering information, creating focused approaches, and observing how those approaches perform in the real world of your workplace. This is an individualized process that changes and grows with you, and is focused on your specific situation.

Initial Consultation

Before we work together, it's important to understand the scope of work, what we offer, the process involved, and our shared ideas of the time required for this assessment and consultation process. This initial 1-hour consultation is conducted by Zoom.

Emotional Dynamics Assessment

This exploratory consultation focuses on the specific emotion-work and empathy-work requirements currently at play in your organization. In this assessment, Karla and her team will explore the distinct emotional requirements in different departments and organizational levels, and assess the amount of direct support that is available for emotion workers and empathy professionals (regardless of their titles or their job descriptions). This assessment includes a detailed report of the teams' findings, and focused suggestions based upon the unique needs of your team members, your organization, and your mission.

Collaborative Team Dynamics Program

This program welcomes all members of work teams as equally important contributors to the success of the organization. In each session, teams will build emotional skills and communication skills, learn which kinds of emotion work each member is expected to perform, and how team members’ emotional styles work together (or perhaps clash). These sessions focus on how to create a healthy working environment that supports the team’s emotion work, empathy work, productivity, and success. Karla and the team also work together to create focused, reliable, and individualized communication processes that help all team members approach mistakes, sensitive requests, problems, and conflicts in skillful and effective ways.

Ongoing Emotional Dynamics Consulting

Developing an understanding of workplace empathy and emotion work requirements is a wonderful first step for any organization to take. However, knowing what to do about these requirements may require more finesse and support. Ongoing consulting is available to support teams and organizations in building and sustaining an emotionally well-regulated workplace.