How Your Emotions Affect Co-Workers

What impact do emotions play in the workplace? How do they impact your relationships with colleagues?

That’s what a key piece of research is looking to find out.

Emotional expressions are commonly enacted by employees toward coworkers. Of course, positive emotional expressions are considered desirable, such as smiles, warmth, patience, etc. While these employees don’t always feel this way, they still present those emotions on the surface. This is known as “surface acting.”

You may not feel particularly chipper, you may even be having a bad day. But others will never know it.

The consensus is that surface acting is bad for employees because it can lead to increased emotional exhaustion and psychological strain along with decreased job satisfaction and organizational attachment.

What researchers are trying to discover is how organizations can reduce surface-level acting at work. A group of researchers revealed that coworkers expressing gratitude can do this. Importantly, the researchers found that the benefit of expressed gratitude for reducing surface acting is greater for women (vs. men).

The implications of research so far reveal that coworkers expressing gratitude can shape emotional displays at work, thereby having a big influence on employee productivity.

So, what does this mean for you as a leader?

It means you may want to promote gratitude expressions on a regular basis. This can be achieved through employee appreciation programs, whereby organizations encourage the expression of gratitude through recurring things like appreciation posts, thank you cards and starting meetings with appreciative introductions.

Furthermore, organizations could foster a culture of gratitude where organization leaders regularly express gratitude for employees through anniversary lunches or celebration of product launches.

As organizations become more interdependent and rely even more on high-quality collaboration among employees, nurturing the exchange of gratitude becomes even more important.

You can start this TODAY.

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Here at Lead Read Today, we endeavor to take an objective (rational, scientific) approach to analyzing leaders and leadership. All opinion pieces will be reviewed for appropriateness, and the opinions shared are solely of the author and not representative of The Ohio State University or any of its affiliates.