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It PAYS To Be Nice, Literally

By on September 29, 2015

The One Skill Scientifically Proven to Make You More Money at Work
The most successful people, we’re often told, are tough, non-empathetic figures like Steve Jobs and Anna Wintour. Recently published research, however, suggests that it pays to have an eye for emotions in the workplace.

For their study, the researchers had a group of 142 adult workers from a wide range of industries and positions attempt to identify the emotions of other people based on photos and voice recordings.

Gerhard Blickle, University of Bonn psychological scientist and co-author of the study, writes:

“On average, the participants succeeded in 77 percent of the cases. People who succeeded in 87 percent of the cases were considered to be good, and people who succeeded in more than 90 percent of the cases were considered really good. Those below 60 percent, in contrast, were seen as not so good in recognizing emotions.”
Participants were then rated by their supervisor on job performance and a work colleague on their political skill, which is defined as “the ability to effectively understand others at work and to use such knowledge to influence others to act in ways that enhance one’s personal and/or organizational objectives.”

The results showed that those participants who were considered better in recognizing emotions were also rated higher on their social and political skills by colleagues and supervisors. Most surprisingly, better emotion recognition was positively associated with higher annual salary.

Blickle and his co-researchers write:

“Numerous factors affect the income of an employee: biological sex, age, training, weekly working hours, and hierarchical position in the company. We controlled for all these variants. The effect of the ability to recognize emotions on income still remained.”

“… The better people are at recognizing emotions, the better they handle the politics in organizations and the interpersonal aspects of work life, and thus the more they earn in their jobs.”
Based on their findings, the researchers suggest that selecting those who are skilled in emotional recognition ability for leadership positions can improve cooperation and communication amongst team members.

“If our study has one overriding message, it is that seeing what others feel and using this information to navigate through the social world of organizations help make people successful at work.”

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