Emotions and Engagement

I just read 2 articles from the Wall Street Journal called “To a United pilot, the friendly skies are a point of pride” and the second is “Rules of Engagement.  Why employers should-and increasingly do-care about creating a great workplace.”    These articles express the importance of companies having employees that are friendly, helpful, lively, and likeable, and giving them an opportunity and the tools to flourish.

The first article is about a pilot and his personal goal of giving a 100% commitment to his passengers and their experience.  From my observations, Capt. Denny Flanagan is someone with a great amount of emotional intelligence.  He is a pilot for United Airlines and he is known for going to the extra mile to make sure his passengers enjoy every second when they are in his hands.  Whether it is reassuring the passengers their pets are on board, calling a worried mother and telling her that her child, who is flying unaccompanied, is safe and on track to making it home.  These are two small examples that require a couple minutes of time and it is greatly appreciated and those passengers will most likely return and fly United.  Flying is nerve racking and Denny knows this, so every flight he controls his and his passenger’s emotions and everyone benefits.

Denny is also engaging in each passenger’s experience.  Engagement is defined by the “Rules of Engagement” as a “buzz phrase for a level of worker commitment so strong that employees voluntarily invest extra effort on the job.”  It was found that when companies engage their employees their profits increase.

The main point I want to make about these articles is something of great concern to me right now.  The company I work for just laid off over 20 people and I am curious to see how we can recover from such a loss.  Last night was a bad night for a lot of people because they either lost their job or their friend did.  It was a surprise to everyone and the ones who had to work, had to suppress their emotions and smile through the night.  We work in the service industry and they had to manage their emotions using emotional labor techniques.  Like it said in Chapter 4 of Understanding Organizational Behavior by Debra Nelson and James Campbell Quick, using emotional labor often causes “exhaustion and burnout.”  So what I was wondering was what the GM will do to settle everyone’s nerves.  How is he going to reengage his employees and move forward effectively and efficiently?


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