Managers Who Care
Negative Emotions in the WorkplaceStress, anxiety, and tension resulting from work and home life can lead to negative emotions, and these negative emotions can dramatically impair the functioning of an entire organization. Employees experiencing negative emotions often perform work less efficiently and with more errors, which can cause productivity problems for others. Additionally, these individuals can have a negative attitude towards others, causing negative emotions in others, thus, spreading an epidemic.
Changes in Views on Negative EmotionsFor many years emotions at work were hidden, as people would rather walk around with a blindfold than see people having emotional problems and try to intervene. In fact, not only was there an unwillingness to help, but the mere act of showing negative emotions was taboo. Fortunately for employees and employers alike, recent changes in society and views of the workplace have led to a paradigm shift. Now, employees experiencing negative emotions at work may receive assistance from a coworker or supervisor, which can help enable employees and organizations to maintain high levels of performance.
Who Will HelpWhile it is clear that some people provide counsel more than others, how do we know who is more likely to help? One indicator of an individual’s propensity to help is positive affect, or the amount of ‘good emotions’ a person possesses. Those with more positive affect are more likely to help. People with high levels of positive affect often:
- Are happier
- Enjoy and seek out social contact
- Are more sensitive and attentive to others
- Are more overtly friendly
- Can pass their positive emotions to others
- Holding back negative thoughts
- Responding to the emotional states of others
- Trying to lift the spirits of others
- Attentively noticing others’ emotions
- Adjusting behavior to match the situation
Take Home Points
- Negative emotions can be toxic to the workplace
- High levels of positive affect and self-monitoring make it more likely that people will help others and be successful in the process
- Organizations should make it clear through management trainings and organizational policies that it is acceptable to help others experiencing negative emotions
- People who act as ‘emotion helpers’ provide an invaluable service to the company by increasing productivity
DeGarmo GroupThis was a summary of the research and practice implications from: Toegel, G., Anand, N., & Kilduff, M. (2007). Emotion helpers: The role of high positive affectivity and high self-monitoring managers. Personnel Psychology, 60, 337-365.