Let's be honest, not everyone expresses their true self at their workplace because at the end of the day you're just there to work and then leave. But a new study has found, that showing your true self at work, as in not faking your feelings can actually prove to be a lot more productive for you and can also lead to other benefits. Co-authored by Chris Rosen, a management professor and led by Allison Gabriel, associate professor of management and organisations, the study focused on how being authentic at work can help.
“We found that people who put forth the effort to display positive emotions towards others at work - versus faking their feelings - receive higher levels of support and trust from co-workers,” Rosen said. “These people also reported significantly higher levels of progress on work goals likely due to the support they received.” The study focused on more than 2500 individuals across various fields like education, manufacturing, engineering, and financial services. The researchers then identified two types of emotional regulations people opt for at work namely surface acting and deep acting.
Here, surface acting refers to feeling something on the inside and acting differently on the outside. So, say you may be internally upset about something but you'll choose to pretend to be happy on the outside. Deep acting, on the other hand, makes people actually try to change how they feel internally. So, if you're upset and you feel like you should be more positive on the outside, you'll actually try to change your internal process to coincide with your external process.
The researchers basically wanted to know why people faked being nice at the workplace despite not being required to do it. They then identified 4 types of people - nonactors, low actors, deep actors and regulators. While nonactors display the lowest levels of surface and deep acting, low actors display slightly higher levels of surface and deep acting; deep actors opt for low levels of surface acting and high levels of deep acting while regulators opt for high levels of surface and deep acting.
While nonactors made for the smallest group, the other three were sort of consistent in size. Deep actors were the way they were because they wanted to maintain social relationships at work and preferred to be courteous. Regulators, on the other hand, felt the most exhausted and fatigued from all the excessive acting. So, maybe this will give you a better impression of how you should be behaving at your workplace too. Stay tuned for more updates.