Emotional intelligence (EI) contributes to good performance and well-being in jobs that involve frequent interpersonal contact. However, as EI is composed of self- and other-focused dimensions, it remains unclear which dimensions are responsible for better performance and well-being. We hypothesized that other-focused EI dimensions in particular relate to task performance, whereas self-focused EI dimensions relate to employees’ subjective stress and physiological responses to emotional job demands. We asked Dutch secretaries (N 110) to professionally respond to five emotionally demanding work-related phone calls. The secretaries’ skin conductance levels were recorded during the calls, and the secretaries had to indicate their stress levels after each call. Two independent raters coded the secretaries’ effectiveness and the number of emotion regulation attempts during the phone calls. The results showed that other-focused emotion regulation was positively related to only one of the task performance indicators during three phone calls. In line with the hypotheses, self-focused emotion appraisal was negatively related to the secretaries’ subjective stress levels after all the phone calls. Self-focused emotion regulation was positively related to the secretaries’ skin conductance levels during all but one of the phone calls. This outcome suggests that self-focused EI dimensions decrease the subjective experience of stress but are accompanied by physiological costs, whereas other-focused emotion regulation may be positively but weakly related to task performance in emotionally demanding contexts.

, , ,
doi.org/10.1037/ocp0000134, hdl.handle.net/1765/110724
Journal of Occupational Health Psychology
Department of Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Pekaar, K. A., Bakker, A., Born, M., & van der Linden, D. (2018). The consequences of self- and other-focused emotional intelligence: Not all sunshine and roses. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 2018(October). doi:10.1037/ocp0000134