Poker Faces a Work Requirement?
It seems that having to maintain a neutral face at work would be a breeze but new research from Rice University, the University of Toronto, and Purdue University suggests otherwise. It seems that workers with professions that require them to avoid being overly positive or negative such as law enforcement, journalists, social workers, and health care professionals suppress expressions of emotion more so than other service related professions.
Daniel Beal, assistant professor of psychology at Rice University and his co-authors of the study, John Trougakos and Christine Jackson found that employees engage in a higher level of suppression trying to adhere to the neutral facial expression prerequisite. This is because they are trying to meet the expectations of their bosses or the public.
The study’s findings are interesting to say the least. They suggest that even though neutrality is required for various reasons (maintain trust, keep situation calm, not influence others actions etc.) it doesn’t necessarily result in a positive reaction from others or in superior work performance.
Past research has focused on jobs that require the suppression of negative emotions such as customer service representatives, but this is the first study to examine the jobs that require a neutral disposition and the consequences in job performance and customer approval of suppressing both negative and positive emotions on the job.
Beal states of the findings that, “Our study shows that emotion suppression takes a toll on people…it takes energy to suppress emotions…workers are often more run down or show greater levels of burnout. The more energy you spend controlling your emotions, the less energy you have to devote to the task at hand”.
Do you agree?