Emotions In The Work Place

Essay by kamruddinCollege, Undergraduate May 2006

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"Not very long ago, emotion was thought to be the exclusive province of poets. Now, a new science of emotion is discovering pathways in our brains that create powerful emotional memories. Normally these protect us against repeating harmful encounters and guide us to what's good. But science is just now beginning to understand how emotional memories can also become prisons when hijacked by anxiety or trauma." - National Institute of Mental Health

This quote by the National Institute of Mental Health clearly points out that emotions could be beneficial, but even harmful to a human being. The world today relies more on mental labor. The advancement in technology has nearly vanished physical labor. As white collar jobs are on the rise, we need to take emotions into consideration as it is a factor contributing to mental health. Extreme or prolonged periods rooted in negative emotions, can bring about related health problems such as anxiety, depression, aggression, and stress.

For this reason companies have ignored emotions concluding that negative emotions interfered with work performance.

Although this explanation that negative emotions interfered with work performance was widely accepted by companies, it holds true in some fields and departments. For example, if an employee displays his/her emotions such as anger, sadness, and disgust when dealing with customers, this behavior would portray the company's reputation as bad, which would affect future customers and would reduce revenues. In such a situation, the employee should not display negative emotions. Instead, if an employee is not dealing with customers, he should still have some extremes to which he should display his negative emotions. Emotions tend to be contagious in one way or another. For example, Groups and teams have a major impact on the emotional state of people in organizations. Good working relationships with pleasant, highly motivated colleagues could boost employees' positive emotion and behavior. Conversely, unhappy, unmotivated peers and conflicts with irritable fellow workers would adversely affect employees' emotional well-being. This tends to be another reason why organizations restrict the involvement of emotions into the workplace, as the contagious property of emotions does hinder work performance.

As thoughts create emotions, and emotions create behaviors, negative thoughts create bad behavior which is not acceptable in any facet of life. Although negative emotions have their consequences at work, it is good to express them to remain mentally healthy. If one could share the thoughts with his/her peers before the emotions are created (this reasoning just came to my mind) it would help reduce emotional distress. This could be practiced by encouraging more interaction between peers, to make them comfortable to share their thoughts.

In addition, regular training for employees on emotion management, dealing with others under emotional distress, and other emotion related education should be beneficial both to the employee and the organization. Such knowledge would increase job satisfaction and enhance work performance as employees would freely display their emotions, and others would participate to relieve the victim from emotions. This practice will unknowingly create togetherness, compassion and friendliness for one another in the emotionless business environment. Positive emotions (happiness which leads to pleasant and motivated behavior) as described in the example above are good for the company and should be encouraged by management. Good ways of benefiting from positive emotions would be, by encouraging employees to interact more with management and peers. If I was to advice a friend joining the workforce, to show his/her emotions or not, I would recommend that s/he should control his/her emotions if s/he is working in a Customer Care department. If it is any other job not related to customers, I would advice him/her to show his/her emotions to just one or two people, not to the whole organization. And to those one or two people who really understand you well and would transform your negative emotions into positive ones or get your mind off the thoughts which create the emotions. I would deeply advice him/her to show his/her emotion at least to someone as personal health should be the first priority.