2.1 Analyse and Document Emotional Responses of Co-Workers

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2.1 Analyse and Document Emotional Responses of Co-Workers

Understanding the mental state of your co-workers is a crucial skill that enables appropriate and useful emotional expressions in any situation. Through experience, everyone has learned that when engaging in face-to-face communication, social information is conveyed by emotional expressions. Emotional states are the specific emotions that a person feels at any given moment and these can be conveyed through emotional responses and expressions.

Emotional responses are physical cues that happen automatically as a result of you feeling emotions. These are usually subtle and cannot be controlled. Meanwhile, emotional expressions are how you express the emotions in general. These can be obvious or subtle and verbal or nonverbal. Emotional expression also includes a lack of expression as a result of suppressing your emotions.

Nonverbal indicators of emotion include apparent behaviours such as facial expression, eye contact and tone of voice. Other less obvious messages include posture and physical distance between people. Understanding these kinds of responses and expressions is important for social interaction because of the need to modify your own behaviour in response. The ability to effectively process emotions helps in the success of personal and workplace situations. Additionally, those who can understand responses and expressions can better develop superior social skills and form more positive relationships.

Empathy is defined as understanding and relating to another person’s feelings. Sympathy, on the other hand, is defined as feelings of pity for someone else’s misfortune. Empathy is an essential part of social awareness and it is what you should aim to achieve. It is widely regarded as a crucial attribute of leaders, as empathy in teams helps in achieving higher work satisfaction, enablement and improvement in team outcomes. Empathy involves the ability to:

Develop your empathy by being more observant of others’ emotional responses and expressions. When communicating with your co-workers, take notice not only what words they say but their tone of voice, how fast they speak, their posture, how far they are standing from you and the subtle changes in their facial expressions. Detecting their emotional expressions and choosing the appropriate way to respond can improve your empathy and strengthen your professional relationships. 

A few examples of emotional responses you can look out for in others are listed in the table below: 

Emotional ResponseEmotional State
Jaw dropSurprise
Face flushingEmbarrassment
Eyebrow raiseSurprise