How we feel about ourselves affects us. It influences our health and decisions. Now, as reported in the article, “Think Yourself Well” (The Economist, December 8, 2012 edition), Barbara Fredrickson and Bethany Kok of the University of North Carolina may have found physiological connection between good emotions and good health.
This tangible connection reinforces the importance of managing to impact employees’ emotions. If positive emotions directly correlate to good health, imagine their power on employee performance. Tangibly, this means fewer illnesses. Intangibly, there is still value if our approach influences how employees feel . . . especially about themselves.
Consequently, what we say is important as well as how we say it when influencing employees’ emotions. Compliments and intrinsic rewards are important here; criticism, discipline, incentives and corrective actions do extremely little to influence positive feelings. We not only need to have the right expectations from such techniques but the right understanding of their uses.
Additionally, helping employees develop strong relationships with others or simply reminding them of the good relationships they do have can influence positives feelings. Talking about the good relationships we have makes us happier.
Asking employees to help us also encourages positive emotions related to helpfulness and altruism. Most people feel better about themselves when they help others. Their help helps them see their value.
Simply managing using negative reinforcements will tend to yield an underperforming, sicker workforce over the long term. So, the question is this: what are we doing now to affect the emotional well-being of our workforce?
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