Every organization has an emotional culture, even if it’s one of suppression.
Most companies don’t realise how central emotions are to building the right culture. They tend to focus on cognitive culture: the shared intellectual values, norms, artifacts, and assumptions that set the overall tone for how employees think and behave at work.
Though that’s incredibly important, recent research from Barsade and O’Neill shows that it’s only part of the story. The other critical part is emotional culture, which governs which feelings people have and express at work.
The research has found that emotional culture influences employee satisfaction, burnout, teamwork, and even “hard” measures such as financial performance and absenteeism. So when managers ignore or fail to understand it, they’re glossing over a vital component of what makes organizations tick, and their companies suffer as a result.
By not only allowing emotions into the workplace but also consciously shaping them, leaders can better motivate their employees. This article describes some of the ways emotional culture manifests at work—for instance, in the form of joy, companionate love, and fear—and the impact it can have in a range of settings and industries. It also suggests ways of creating and maintaining an emotional culture that will help you achieve your company’s goals.