Organizational Behaviour – Emotional Stability Essay
Over the past years, many have related emotional stability with one’s ability to perform in work. This essay will review emotional stability as one of The “Big Five” Personality Model in relation to the workplace and work behavior. In order to further reinforce the concept, different academic journals from recent years will be used to deliver ideologies on the definition of emotional stability, ways to encourage emotional stability, how it affects the workforce both as employees and managers while contrasting with people with neurotic behavior.
Emotional stability means having a calm behavior, whether a certain project in work has been deemed a success or a failure. It is the ability to control his or her emotional expressions while still maintaining the right mind to make rational and professional decisions. Teng, Chang & Hsu (2009: 2088) states that a person having good emotional stability is less likely to display strong emotional reactions to stressful situations. Teng also adds that these people lean more towards being pro-active and successful in problem-solving.
Neuroticism would be the other end of the scale where one will have the buoyancy to experience negative emotions. Neuroticism includes characteristics of excessive worry, pessimistic and low confidence (Bozionelos 2004: 70). People who are neurotic may find it difficult to think clearly, cope with stress or being in a bad mood under normal circumstances. As a result, it is clear that firms are more likely to favor employees who are emotionally stable because he or she will not be too emotionally involved in a certain situation and will find it much easier to move on.
As an employee, having good emotional stability is important in the process of learning and understanding a task. An important aspect of the learning is curve is learning from errors and being emotionally stable has shown to help an individual learn from mistakes (Zhao 2010: 438). While it is false that negative emotions decrease one’s motivation to engage in productive actions, it has been discussed and concluded (Gray, cited in Zhao 2010: 453) that neuroticism dampens goal pursuit activities and discouraging people from taking actions which gain them benefits.
When an error has been made by an individual, their personality of being emotionally positive or negative affects the outcome of their behavior. Emotionally stable individuals will regard errors positively, almost putting a mental note to remind themselves not to make the same mistake again. In the work environment today, human errors are inevitable but individuals who are neurotic will develop fear when they make mistakes. Zhao (2010: 456) reasons that emotionally negative individuals choose alternative activities, often unproductive to divert their minds off the problem in order to alleviate the fear.
More often that none, these individuals engage in task-irrelevant activities such as error rationalization or denial, which impacts on them learning from the errors made. Therefore it is concluded that emotionally stable employees learn much more effectively from their own mistakes. Another aspect of having stable emotions is the ability to make better judgment calls under demanding situations. Someone emotionally unstable is biased towards certain things and will make decisions based on personal emotions rather than facts and logic.
An interesting find is the article by Teng et al. , “Emotional stability of nurses: impact on patient safety. ” This article discusses the correlation between the nurses’ personality and their impact on patient safety and was chosen to discuss because of the magnitude of the consequences. In this research, Teng et al. (2009: 2090) states that “emotionally stable nurses can be expected to achieve better nursing outcomes than emotionally unstable nurses. ” A nurse who has been deeply angered by a patient may make bad and irrational decisions.
In contrast, a nurse dealing with crisis or emergencies will be much calmer without letting negative personal emotions interfere with their decision-making and thus protecting patient safety. Emotional stability may be one of the big five personality factors, but there is evidence that suggests external factors which encourage and discourages this behavior. For example, being emotionally unstable may also be as a result of job dissatisfaction. These factors, such as having a heavy work load will increase job dissatisfaction and will eventually lead to a burnout, which is associated with negative emotions.
While there are factors that lead to neuroticism, Teng et al. (2009: 2088) also discuss that there are ways to promote emotional stability. Research has shown that emotional stability can be taught (Yang & Wang cited in Teng et al. 2009: 2089), and that there is almost no correlation between emotional stability across the years for the same individual (Hampson & Goldberg cited in Teng et al. 2009: 2089). As this is the case, it is possible that emotional stability can be instilled and regulated by looking at other external factors that might contribute to them.
Factors that may result in decreased job satisfaction should be looked at immediately and it is important for managers to create an organizational environment that promotes the emotional stability of employees. There has been much debate about what makes a good leader in the workplace, and parallel to this discussion is the question whether a good leader needs emotional stability to succeed, and if so, why. To do this, the term emotional intelligence comes into the perspective and is defined by Goleman (cited in Eid et al. 2009: 500) as “.. n awareness of one’s own emotions as well as the ability to control them, social awareness of others.. and the capacity to understand and manage relationships and social networks. ”
It can be assumed that emotional stability is an important component of emotional intelligence and will be focused upon in this discussion. While there are many different styles of leaderships, leaders today have learned that being a successful leader does not often mean being intelligent in core job competencies, but more to do with emotional intelligence.
Alike employees, individuals make good leaders when they make good and rational decisions for the team they are leading. To have control over one’s emotions is also important for being assertive, gregarious, energetic, calm and progressive and how they can use these individual differences to mobilize their followers (Antonakis et al. 2009: 250). Antonakis also states that neuroticism in leadership will steer towards hostile and panicky attitudes which do not contribute in leading a successful team today.
It is always important that the team leader remains calm and collected in order to keep the team composed; followers will be seeking for a stable point in the team and times of distress and the leader often times must assume this role. Leaders who know how to manage their emotions are able to use these emotions as indications to direct their attention to prioritize events which are in need of immediate attention (Simon cited in George 2000: 1043). Moreover, leaders who are capable of managing emotions are also able to flexibly approach problems, consider alternative scenarios and avoid indecisiveness.
Additionally, Wasilewski (cited in George 2000: 1044) suggests that leaders who are emotionally intelligent are able to successfully implement changes in an organization. They understand their responsibilities as a leader and will take steps necessary to improve the team and will also make better judgments on the viability of a follower in the team. With the points presented, it is easy to conclude that a leader with emotional stability will make a better leader than one with emotional instability.
This theory of “emotional stability” has been the choice of behavior to be researched because of events that happen during my vacation work as an accounting intern over the summer. In an office of five people with my superior being the head accountant, there has been much emotional ups and downs in the office and dare I say that it is true, based on my personal experiences that emotional stability is one of the, if not the most important characteristic to have. During my time in this accounting firm, a certain employee, T, has been particularly irritating to the rest of us.
While being relatively new to the firm, she would boldly accuse the rest of the staff on matters we have not even heard of. Being the lowest on the pecking order, I had to be emotionally stable every time she would verbally abuse us with accusations without proof. I found it very challenging to be calm with her, but luckily with the right pep talks with my superior, I managed to hold my anger in and just continue with doing work. As we ignored T more and more, she became more aggressive, even at one point accused my colleague of threatening her.
This was of course, agreed by all of us as being emotionally unstable as she would throw these tantrums unexpectedly. Being a superior, C, the leader in the office has repeatedly told her that this is an office, and whatever “emotional luggage” she had with her has to be left at the front door- a metaphor which I will remember for the rest of my life. The other employees and I were getting uncomfortable and insecure and losing interest in coming to work as our leader has failed to resolve this issue.
As stated in the discussions above, we as the team have lost our point of stability which we all were seeking because we knew that C and T had mutual friends, and it would be awkward between them if C were to dismiss T. This brings to discussion if C was acting on a clear conscience or was he too involved emotionally with the fact that he and T had mutual friends. He himself has admitted that he was frustrated with T as more arguments sparked through the office, with C trying to defend his employees.
As the frustration level gets higher, C held a meeting and has put on a different approach, by listening to each and every one of us. It looked like he was putting all emotions aside, controlling them and then made a decision to let T go. As T blasted at C for not being appreciative and that “her work was good”, C maintained his calm approach, telling T that the reason she was being let go was because of her social awkwardness and reducing the efficiency of the team.
By doing this, we have had more confidence in C as our leader for being able to make decisions for us as a team and when there is confidence in the leader, the team becomes much more effective hence making him a good and capable leader who knows how to manage and control his emotions. This essay has outlined emotional stability as a main characteristic in workplace and work behavior. To summarize, emotional stability is important in the process of learning, specifically when an individual learns from errors.
Secondly, emotional stability is also important for both employees and leaders to make better rational decisions. Thirdly, this essay has also discussed that managers and leaders can increase emotional stability among their followers and also grasps the idea that individuals with better emotional stability make better leaders. Finally, it also includes a reflective piece of my personal experience in my workplace in many relations to emotional stability. It is clear and definite that having emotional stability will be an asset characteristic in the workforce.