Individual moods and emotions in the workplace
MAN571 Organizational behavior
Emotions and moods play a big role on how employees communicate with other in the workplace. Emotions in the workplace are essential indications of a positive or negative job environment. Positive emotions can increase the worker motivation and performance, while negative emotions can cause stress and high turnover. This in turn will affect the whole organization either directly or indirectly. Positive moods enable employees to enhance their productivity at the workplace. However, negative emotions such as anger, hostility and stress can impact negatively on the productivity of the employees. Both types of emotions are contagious in the work place, which makes it even more important for managers to have an ability to read employee emotions.
Emotional contagion is a way that the emotions of one employee are transferred to another employee via nonverbal channels. Managers need to harness positive emotions or eliminate negative emotions at work in order to maintain a healthy work environment. How positive and negative emotions can influence employees and their productivity at work.
According to Brief &Weiss (2002), emotions are usually intense and occur due to specific events and can affect the way we think. Moods on the other hand are less intense and are not enhanced by any specific stimulus.
The purpose of this reflective thinking assignment is to examine the following:
· Individual moods and emotions in the workplace and how they affect the employees
· Describe different personality tests
· Emotional intelligence
Individual moods and emotions in the workplace
It is normal for employees to express emotions. However, it should be noted that negative emotions can be infectious and in turn spread from one employee to another. This can significantly affect interpersonal communication in the organization.
Emotions can sometimes cause a person to be irrational. For instance, an employee who suffers severe head injuries which may affect his/her brain causing him/her to be emotionless would result in such an employee not being able to experience any reason, hence becoming irrational. In order to determine how an individual expresses emotions at work, it will be important to put into consideration how such an individual experiences work from a personal point of view so as to understand meaning to those emotions (Weiss & Rupp, 2011)
The following are the sources of mood and emotions in the workplace;
Stress is body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or tension .It can be caused by both good and bad experiences in life .Stress is the major cause of negative feelings at work, for instance, too much work overloads , difficult colleagues or customers and demanding bosses/supervisors can lead to negative feelings (Kanner, Schaefer & Lazarus, 1984)
A person’s temperament determines their moods and emotions. For instance, extroverts typically express their emotions for all to see and express, very outgoing and frequently show positive feelings of excitement, happiness towards people around them .
· Social activities
Interpersonal interactions on social occasions and events contribute to emotions and moods. Those interactions which are positive translate to positive feelings and vice-versa
Research has shown that weather thought to have effects on mood. Individuals have been known to express negative feelings on dark, stormy/rainy days and positive feelings and emotions on bright, hot and sunny days, people would love to engage in outdoor games and activities in summer vacations.
Women have been culturally known to frequently and easily express their moods and emotions. This is why managers are very careful when dealing with female employees since they are very sensitive and emotional on such issues such as family, children’s rights and they are very self-conscious . Males are opposite to the females in the expression of their emotions even under very stressful situations men can hold their emotions well because of their self-control attitude.
Research has shown that physical exercise can be used to improve mood for individual’s suffering from depression. Some organizations offer free gym memberships to their employees and encourages them to regularly exercise to improve their mood and enhance positive feelings towards their employers and coworkers.
I personally experience the urge for workout, when I start my day by going to the Gym, I have a fantastic day with full involvement in all that tasks and vice versa. (Slaski, 2002)
Quality of sleep affects mood. Individuals who sleep for less than 8 hours per night are likely to experience negative feelings ,as in my case during previous couple of months I could not have quality sleep because of taking care of my 81 years old mom who had stroke last year . I had to make big changes in my daily routines and got extra help to get me back to my sleep patterns min of 8 hrs uninterrupted sleep which makes my day very productive otherwise I become irritable.
Evidence shows that older individuals experience more positive feelings than young people. This is why young people suffer from depression, eating disorders and show suicidal tendencies as a result of negative and stressful feelings. As we grow older our personalities start getting settled in terms with the environment we are living in which makes us less stressful and out of mood swings.
· Physical environment
Physical settings can cause mood and emotions at work. A beautiful view of outdoor scenery from the office window can enhance the employee’s mood and sometimes when lighting at work is extreme either too bright or too dark can cause negative moods among employees (Kuller, Ballal et al, 2006)
Effects of mood and emotions in the workplace
The following are the effects/impacts of moods and emotions in the workplace;
i. Job satisfaction
Job satisfaction is a major motivating factor for employees to be more productive at work. It is also the major cause of high employee turnover rate. When employees are more satisfied at their jobs, they tend to experience more positive moods and emotions.
ii. Employee performance
Mood can affect personal judgment which in turn will influence performance. According to Ashkenazy &Humphrey (2011), managers who experience positive moods are likely to take greater risks and be more optimistic. This optimism by managers can inspire the employees to perform better too.
iii. Creativity and innovativeness
Both positive and negative moods can contribute to innovation. However, only positive mood can influence creativity at work. According to Amiable, Barsade et al (2005), positive mood facilitates cognitive and divergent thinking which enhance tasks that require creativity.
iv. Interpersonal relationships
Personal moods among workers can influence their moods toward others. This in turn will affect to a significant extend interpersonal relationships among workers. A worker who shows positive moods attracts other to him/her which will lead to a positive interpersonal relationship and vice-versa
Different personality tests
There are many personality tests put forth by various psychologists. The main goals of psychology have been to establish a model that can conveniently describe human personality. While conducting various personality tests Personality test is basically a questionnaire designed to reveal various aspects of a person’s character.(Brief, 2002) One of the more prominent models for the description of personality in contemporary psychology is known as the five-factor model of personality (Digman, 1990) the big five personality tests model includes;
· The Ten Item Personality Inventory
· Revised Neo personality Inventory
· The Five Factor Personality Inventory
· The Five Factor Model Rating Form
· The Big Five Inventory
The five factor personality traits are in the following table
There has been much research conducted on how people describe others and five major dimensions of human personality have been found which is described as the OCEAN model of personality which have been described by the above table
3 – Personality Test Performed
I performed 3 personality tests on myself to explore my personality traits and I agreed to some of the results and some of the personality traits I found very helpful to incorporate into a leadership role to manage successfully an organization.
1-Big five personality test:
I did this big five personality test for myself and my son who is 23 , was another person in this comparison having the same ethnic and social back ground with the difference of the fact that I was born in Pakistan and he was born in USA and studied in USA.
When I performed the big five project personality test and results are following:
Open to New Experiences
Calm / Relaxed
Nervous / High-Strung
This score is close to my personality but I would say the test results don’t describe my personality fully as there are some personality traits which changes with the circumstances, for instance when I am dealing with my team members I have to be aggressive to get the job done on timely basis. As per the results of this test I have a relaxed personality trait along with the element of openness which is sometimes turns out to be opposite.
2-Type A / B personality Test
I also conducted Type A /B personality test and my score was 6 out of ten putting me in Type A and B personality.
Type A individual as ambitious, rigidly organized, highly status conscious, can be sensitive, care for other people, are truthful, impatient, always try to help others, , take on more than they can handle, want other people to get to the point, proactive, and obsessed with time management. People with Type A personalities are often high-achieving “workaholics” who multi-task, push themselves with deadlines,
Type B individuals are a contrast to those with Type A personalities. People with Type B personality by definition generally live at a lower stress level and typically work steadily, enjoying achievement but not becoming stressed when they are not achieved. When faced with competition, they do not mind losing and either enjoy the game or back down. They may be creative and enjoy exploring ideas and concepts. They are often reflective, thinking about the outer and inner worlds. Furthermore, Type B personalities may have a poor sense of time schedule and can be predominately right brained thinkers.
If I look into my personal and professional personality traits I have most of the qualities of Type A and few from Type B ,like I am very ambitious, organized, , sensitive, care for other people, truthful, take on more than what I can handle, proactive, and obsessed with time management, “workaholics” multi-task, push with deadlines, and some of the qualities of type B which are I am very creative love exploring new ideas and concepts ,brain thinker and always stay at lower level of stress .
I also conducted the stress-o-Meter test to measure the precise amount of stress in the working environment. There were 16 questions regarding the attitudes at work among the employers and employees.
Emotional intelligence is also known as Emotional Quotient. According to Coleman &Andrew (2008), emotional intelligence is “the capacity of individuals to recognize their own, and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and to manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt environments or achieve one’s goals” Emotional intelligence (EQ) is more important than one’s intelligence (IQ) in attaining success in their lives and careers. (Abraham, 1999)
Understanding the Five Categories of Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
The ability to recognize an emotion as it “happens” is the key to your EQ. Developing self-awareness requires tuning in to your true feelings. If you evaluate your emotions, you can manage them. The major elements of self-awareness are:
- Emotional awareness. Your ability to recognize your own emotions and their effects.
- Self-confidence. Sureness about your self-worth and capabilities.
You often have little control over when you experience emotions. You can, however, have some say in how long an emotion will last by using a number of techniques to alleviate negative emotions such as anger, anxiety or depression. A few of these techniques include recasting a situation in a more positive light, taking a long walk and meditation or prayer. Self-regulation involves
- Self-control. Managing disruptive impulses.
- Trustworthiness. Maintaining standards of honesty and integrity.
- Conscientiousness. Taking responsibility for your own performance.
- Adaptability. Handling change with flexibility.
- Innovation. Being open to new ideas
To motivate yourself for any achievement requires clear goals and a positive attitude. Although you may have a predisposition to either a positive or a negative attitude, you can with effort and practice learn to think more positively. If you catch negative thoughts as they occur, you can reframe them in more positive terms — which will help you achieve your goals. Motivation is made up of:
- Achievement drive. You’re constant striving to improve or to meet a standard of excellence.
- Commitment. Aligning with the goals of the group or organization.
- Initiative. Readying yourself to act on opportunities.
- Optimism. Pursuing goals persistently despite obstacles and setbacks.
The ability to recognize how people feel is important to success in your life and career. The more skillful you are at discerning the feelings behind others’ signals the better you can control the signals you send them. (Mayer, 1997) An empathetic person excels at:
- Service orientation. Anticipating, recognizing and meeting clients’ needs.
- Developing others. Sensing what others need to progress and bolstering their abilities.
- Leveraging diversity. Cultivating opportunities through diverse people.
- Political awareness. Reading a group’s emotional currents and power relationships.
- Understanding others. Discerning the feelings behind the needs and wants of others
5. Social skills.
The development of good interpersonal skills is tantamount to success in your life and career. In today’s always-connected world, everyone has immediate access to technical knowledge. Thus, “people skills” are even more important now because you must possess a high EQ to better understand, empathize and negotiate with others in a global economy. Among the most useful skills are (Barling, 2000) :
- Influence. Wielding effective persuasion tactics.
- Communication. Sending clear messages.
- Leadership. Inspiring and guiding groups and people.
- Change catalyst. Initiating or managing change.
- Conflict management. Understanding, negotiating and resolving disagreements.
- Building bonds. Nurturing instrumental relationships.
- Collaboration and cooperation. Working with others toward shared goals.
- Team capabilities. Creating group synergy in pursuing collective goals.
Psychologists have come up with various models to explain and demonstrate how emotional intelligence works. (Pipkins, 1998) These models are;
· Traits model
This model uses the perception of individuals regarding their own emotional abilities. Individuals are then subjected to a traits emotional intelligence questionnaire to test their emotional intelligence
· Ability model
This model was developed by Salovey and Mayer. The model is based on an individual’s ability to perceive emotions. Use emotions, understand and manage emotions. The model uses emotion-based problem solving tests to determine emotional score of an individual
· Mixed model
This model was pioneered by Daniel Coleman. The model is based on self-awareness, social skill, empathy and motivation. Individuals are subjected to Emotional Intelligence Appraisal tests. (Dasborough, 2002)
All of these models can be applied flexibly to various situations and aren’t only applicable in one type of situation. Leaders must be aware of all of these models of assessing emotional intelligence of the employees and other individuals.
As leaders, managers and individuals our success and the success of the today’s profession depend on our ability to read other people’s signals and react appropriately to them. The leaders must keep their employees happy mentally with the healthy environment around and positive emotions resulting from a fantastic work environment. The functions of positive emotions are that employees are extremely productive, motivated and happy. This would result in tremendous progress and profits for the organization.
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