Working in an Emotionally Demanding Role – An Analysis

Working in an Emotionally Demanding Role - An Analysis


Sometimes, employees work hard, but have to cope with emotional demands. For instance, the employee has to maintain certain behavioral parameters when they are talking to clients. She has to read from a script when talking to customers over the phone. She needs to be sympathetic when customers are upset. She also has to steer clear of showing negative attitude like frustration and anger when talking to illogical customers. In this article, we will discuss about working in an emotionally demanding role. It is a study in stress management and coping strategies.


With time, an employee becomes emotionally drained and unattached to work. She becomes exhausted and is left with no energy. She begins her career hoping to make a difference, but after some months she thinks of shifting to a different position. Such pressurizing roles are deterrent to health.

Emotionally Demanding Role

Roles in which employees have to interact with others in a voice-to voice and face-to-face basis, are called emotionally demanding roles.

The employees are expected to build an emotional response in the customers.

The company also expects that the team member behaves in a perfectly positive way without expressing her emotional upheavals. This is called emotional labor. For instance, waiters in restaurants are cheerful to customers who go to dine at the restaurants. Doctors and nurses are expected to be attentive and patient with their patients, even if they get anxious over something. A professional team member is one who does not express her emotions and feelings before her customers.

Emotional Demand in all Jobs

Even though, emotional labor is majorly related to customer service executives, in reality all jobs are emotionally demanding to a certain extent. For example, many team members work hard to be team players. This means that they do not show their annoyance with their team members and display happiness even if they do not like their teammates. There are some firms where employees are expected to follow display rules. This means that they have to exhibit some emotions and body languages.

Emotional Demand and Managers

Managers have an emotionally demanding role. There are many managers who feel for their teams and stay optimistic before their team members. Managements expect managers to suppress their feelings while team members expect to see a happy manager. Positive attitude from the manager motivates her team members.

Emotionally Demanding Role and Emotion-rule Dissonance

Emotional demand is considered as the most important reason for stress in job.

Employees often go through Emotion-rule dissonance which is a tiff between genuinely felt emotions and the emotions that employees are expected to show at their workplace. Emotion rule dissonance is often deteriorating for the health of an employee.

There is however, another school of ideas which states that employees facing emotional labor are efficient and have good health.

Emotional labor apparently leads to satisfaction in job, as it assists in monitoring workplace interaction and makes the interactions predictable.

It was also found that employees, who enhanced their positive reaction after facing interactions that can charge a person emotionally, are more satisfied with their job. Positive emotions also lead to personal achievements of employees. Some studies have also proved that employees, who face emotional labor, are more motivated in their work.

Personal Resources

Affirmative aspects that refer to a professional’s capability to monitor and have an impact on their work atmosphere successfully are called personal resources. Along with job resources, they are the most important factors that inspire work engagement.

Employees with high personal resources have a greater tendency to give more energy, so that they can experience agreement between expectations of the management and their own objectives. They are thus, more involved and more engaged in their work. There are two types of personal resources. They are positive attitude and self-efficiency.

# Positive attitude

It is the attitude of an employee to think that she will come across good and positive experiences in life. Such people try hard to achieve optimistic results. They are more likely to believe in their capabilities even if they have experienced failures in the past. These positive aspects keep the employees energetic, as a result of which they are determined to achieve success even when they are facing emotional demands.

# Self-efficiency

The perception of an employee regarding her capacity to meet the requirements of the company is called self-efficiency. These professionals can give the needed effort to meet objectives they have and stay calm in the face of trouble. This results in achievement of goals and finally engagement.

Job Resources

The attributes of work atmosphere that decrease demands and associated costs are called job resources. These resources act as ways to stimulate development and learning as well as techniques to accomplish work objectives.

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Personal Resources and Job Resources

It is sometimes said that personal resources and job resources have similar functions. The common functions are as follows.

  • They serve as ways to attain goals.
  • They protect professionals from related costs and demanding conditions.
  • They lead to development and growth.

There are again two types of hypotheses, one being the buffering hypothesis and the other is boosting hypothesis.

  • As far as the buffering hypothesis is concerned, the connection between engagement and demands is negative for employees who have low resource level.
  • As far as boosting hypothesis is concerned, high demand in jobs is a challenge which shows that the optimistic effect of resources on engagement is more important.

These very assumptions are implemented on personal resources.

It is often suggested that personal resources buffer the impact of emotional demands on engagement and boost engagement in workplace specifically when situations are emotionally demanding.

This is in line with the idea that when employees consider job demands as obstacles especially when resources are less, demand and engagement are negatively related.

On the other hand if employees consider demands as challenges, work engagement is made possible.

To Wrap Up

From the above article, it can be deduced that working in an emotionally demanding role might sound hectic and deteriorating to health of a professional. However, recent research has also proven the fact that an emotionally demanding role is often the reason behind employee engagement.

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