Can You Recognize Emotional Labor?

A recent article in The Washington Post discussed the concept of emotional labor. This is described as “the work someone does to regulate, modulate or manipulate their feelings to affect the emotions of people around them.”

The author, Rose Hackman, suggests that most emotional labor is provided by women. She contends that those who embrace emotional labor in the workplace are not being compensated for these behaviors.

Such behaviors make the workplace better for both employees as well as clients, customers, and patients. Think about the people whose behavior makes your day go smoother, for example, empathetic accents and a focus on improving the work environment.

Although I was intrigued by this concept, I also thought about companies that have the opposite focus. These are workplaces where one or more leaders manipulate employees’ feelings through fear and intimidation.

Fortunately, these kinds of environments are increasingly disappearing, largely because primarily Generation Z and Millennials are unwilling to work in environments where fear, distrust, and animus prevail. They will simply move on to another job.

Hackman states that “Recognizing emotional labor at work means identifying employees who engage in positive relationship management with people inside and outside an organization.” Do you recognize their contributions in your company?

Leaders can embrace emotional labor primarily by leading by example. Emotional labor should not be a burden on anyone or any group of people. Leaders who have keen awareness of this can use this knowledge to improve morale and organizational culture.

Header image by Rene Asmussen/Pexels.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *