In this three part blog, we address how behavior coding, a method used extensively in psychological science research, can be useful to leaders, teams, and negotiators.
In our first post, we discussed reliability—the first benefit that leaders, teams, and negotiators who learn to code emotional behavior can expect. Reliability is the standardization of perception and language around emotional behaviors expressed during problem solving. In this post, we review the second advantage of learning and implementing a reliable coding system.
Benefit 2: A basis to understand associations between specific emotional behaviors and future outcomes. Another benefit of learning to code is that it allows us to predict and confirm the positive and negative consequences of specific behaviors communicated during problem solving. For example, Gottman and Coan’s (2008) Specific Affect Coding System (SPAFF) has been used to predict likelihood of divorce – but also the frequency of spousal visits to the doctor, the happiness of a couple, and their ability to reach agreements or resolve conflict. More amazingly, even single indicators of emotional behavior have been associated with important relationship outcomes. For instance, eye rolling during conflict turns out to be a strong predictor of relationship dissolution. Findings like these are products of using and implementing a reliable behavior coding system.
In the workplace, a new wave of research has emerged. Among the findings: people who are better at detecting and labeling emotional behavior are also more strategic and effective in social interactions, which in turn, predicts higher individual annual incomes (Momm et al., 2015). Further, teams comprised of more individuals who are sensitive to subtle emotional behaviors perform at a higher level than teams whose individual members are less sensitive. And they perform at a higher level than the member of the team with the highest individual IQ. Greater turn taking in conversations is also more present in teams who perform tasks better and quicker. That means that one person does not dominate the discussion in high performing teams (Woolley et al., 2010). These findings highlight just a few of the positive outcomes that leaders and teams in business settings might achieve from learning to recognize and label emotional behavior using a coding system.
Stay tuned for the final part of this blog where we will discuss the third benefit to learning a coding system. If you’re interested in Movius’ new Standardized Affective Recognition and Response (StARR) workshop where teams, leaders, and negotiators can learn to code emotional behavior, visit our website or email Joanna at Joanna@moviusconsulting.com