Felt Versus Displayed emotions

Emotional labor creates dilemmas for employees when their job requires them to exhibit emotions that are incongruous with their actual feelings. Not surprisingly, this is a frequent occurrence. There are people with whom you have to work toward whom you find it very difficult to be friendly. May be you consider their personality abrasive. May be you know they’ve said negative things about you behind your back. Regardless, your job requires you to interact with these people on a regular basis. So you’re forced to feign friendliness.

It can help to better understand emotions if you separate them into felt versus displayed. Felt emotions are an individual’s actual emotions. In contrast, displayed emotions are those that are organizationally required and considered appropriate in a given job. They’re not innate; they’re learned. “The ritual look of delight on the face of the fist runner – up as the new Miss America is announced is a product of the display rule that losers should mask their sadness with an expression of joy for the winner. Similarly, most of us know that we are expected to act sad at funerals regardless of whether we consider the person’s death to be a loss; and to pretend to be happy at Weddings even if we don’t feel like celebrating. Effective managers have learned to be serious when giving an employee a negative performance evaluation and to cover up their anger when they’ve been passed over for promotion. A salesperson who did not learn to smile and appear friendly, regardless of his or her true feelings at the moment, isn’t going to last long on most sales jobs.

The key point here is that felt and displayed emotions are often different. In fact, many people have problems working with others simply because they naively assume that the emotions they see others display is what those others actually feel. This is particularly true in organizations, where role demands and situations often require people to exhibit emotional behaviors that mask their true feelings. In addition, jobs today increasingly require employees to interact with customers. And customers aren’t always easy to deal with. They often complain, behave rudely, and make unrealistic demands. In such instances, an employee’s felt emotions may need to be disguised. Employees who aren’t able to project a friendly and helpful demeanor in such situations are likely to alienate customers and are unlikely to be effective in their jobs.

Variety – There are literally dozens of emotions. They include anger, contempt, enthusiasm, envy, fear, frustration, disappointment, embarrassment, disgust, happiness, hate, hope, jealousy, joy, love, pride, surprise, and sadness. One way to classify them is by whether they are positive or negative. Positive emotions – like happiness and hope — express a favorable evaluation or feeling. Negative emotions – like anger or hate – express the opposite. And keep in mind that emotions can’t be neutral. Being neutral is non-emotional. Importantly, negative emotions seem to- have a greater effect on individuals. People reflect on and think about events inducing strong negative emotions five times as long as they do about events inducing strong positive ones. So we should expect people to recall negative experiences more readily than positive ones.