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Emotional work is undervalued. While many jobs can be automated or outsourced, care and communication skills are becoming more important. It is then helpful to recognise that in any interaction, the entire emotional burden doesn't have to be on one person.

Faking Your Emotions at Work

Faking Your Emotions at Work

WorkLife with Adam Grant


244 reads

Emotional work is difficult

We have to manage our emotions at work. However, we also manage other people's emotions. In service jobs, managing emotions is the job.

When you act badly, you're making someone else's task more difficult. That will spill over to affect the other customers that day. It may be the...

In any job, you have moments when you fake an emotion. It's hard labour to smile and act nice all day long even though you don't feel like it.

The easiest way to cope is to tell yourself, "This is my job. I have to pretend to be this person in this role when I'm at work." That's sur...

It's exhausting to deal with rude customers all day. But how exhausting depends on how you approach emotional labour.

An alternative to surface acting is deep acting. Instead of putting on a mask, try to really feel the emotion. That way, the emotion comes out naturally.

Research found that when we focus on the people who benefit from our work, it energises us. For example, firefighters and fundraisers are less likely to burn out when they see how their contribution helped others. Creating a positive outcome for customers makes the experience less negative.

When people are masking how they're feeling at work, it can interfere with their productivity.

However, convening a Building Bridges meeting can bring people together. Any topic can be discussed, from politics to religion. Some ground rules can help, such as:

  • Ensuring that every...

Your mood will affect customers. But your mood will also affect your ability to solve problems.

  • Reappraising - reframing the situation. When customers are rude, the best approach is to listen to them, because they are often rude because of an underlying reason. Take th...

If you really want to create the best customer experience, put your customer second. 

Put your employees first. The emotions people experience on the job will impact the customer's experience. When employees are treated well, they naturally treat the custom...

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