Posts tagged ‘job performance’

April 28, 2011

What’s the Big Fuss about Positive Affectivity?

What?  You mean you haven’t heard anything about it?

Well, no.  Like most people, you probably haven’t heard much discussion about it because it’s one of those psychobabble terms that doesn’t easily trip off the tongue and so it gets very little air-time outside of academia.

But it’s something that we probably all have some awareness of, and with a bit more understanding we may well be able to give a good account of how much we tend towards it ourselves. More than this, research to date indicates that it might be one of the unseen and unmeasured features that means one group of people can perform better than another, when on paper everything else is equal.

What Exactly is Positive Affectivity?

Positive affectivity is the personality trait that predisposes someone to generally feel positive, optimistic and to pick themselves up quickly after disappointment or setbacks.  It is the tendency towards feeling happy about situations and outcomes and to express positive responses to adverse situations.

However, it’s more than just being in a good mood because it’s an enduring and measurable variable of behaviour.  Some people are more like this than others and this difference follows them across all sorts of situations.

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March 16, 2011

Is Staying Calm and Unemotional Exactly the Wrong Thing to do for Customer Service Employees?

Well yes, very probably, implies a new study.

This new paper by two Canadian psychologists reviews the academic literature on emotional intelligence and suggests that the ability to influence others as a result of one’s own displays of emotion is a distinct emotional ability with consequences in the workplace. 

Stephane Cote and Ivona Hideg argue that some people are better than others at showing appropriate emotions which influence the feelings, behaviour and attitudes of those around them.  http://opr.sagepub.com/content/1/1/53.full.pdf+html  

They propose that this ability to influence others through displays of emotions sits alongside other aspects of emotional intelligence that are currently better understood, such as the ability to perceive emotions or the ability to manage emotions.

Much is written about the contribution that emotional intelligence makes to the quality of customer service and academic studies show evidence of a link between various features of emotional intelligence and objectively measured job performance in customer service roles.  For example, research indicates that people who are more emotionally intelligent in terms of understanding and managing emotions, are rated higher in terms of customer service provision by senior managers (1).

However, there has been little attention focused on the role that expression of emotion plays in job performance and the authors contend that not only is it a genuine and measurable ability that is present to differing degrees in different people, but also that it is highly likely to have a direct effect, albeit moderated by other factors, on job performance.

So What Does this Mean for Customer Service Providers?

It means that customers like people who come across as positive about, and genuinely engaged in, the interaction and who seem to reflect appropriately the emotions they are experiencing.  And that because they like them, customers are likely to communicate more clearly, more warmly and more informatively, thereby making the customer service employee’s job easier. 

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