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Workers Fake Happiness Around the Boss

A recent (2015) article in The Wall Street Journal points to new research that proves what many workers already know: employees fake a positive outlook when the boss is around, and all that fakery can be exhausting. The research, reported first in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, concluded that workers tended to put on smiles and fake happiness when higher-ups were in the room. By contrast, when workers hold meetings with peers or with lower-status employees, they tend to express themselves more honestly.

In one experiment, researchers selected nearly 150 full-time employees who regularly attended workplace meetings. The participants filled out surveys about meetings they recently attended. After the researchers collected the data, it was obvious that when superiors were in the room the participants reported that they tended to hide their authentic feelings during the meetings.

The Wall Street Journal article went to say, "All this faking can be exhausting: those who feigned positive feelings actually felt less satisfied when a meeting ended, researchers found. [As one of the researchers said], 'Even if they act positive, those underlying negative feelings are still there. They feel inauthentic, which could result in lower satisfaction, or, eventually, burnout.'"

Possible Preaching Angles: Yes, this research may seem like common sense, but it still shows our need to work for the Lord without impressing others as we live before "an audience of one."

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