The New Johari Window #18. Quadrant One: Continental School of Thought Regarding Interpersonal Needs and Quad One General Implications
Management of Emotions
The Continental school suggests that it is not only our thoughts that are arbitrary and easily influenced, but also our emotions. We choose—or someone else chooses—not only our constructions of reality, but also the nature of and way in which we experience and interpret our feelings. To use Arlie Hochschild’s term, we “manage our heart” and this, in turn, profoundly impacts our sense of self and the way in which we present ourselves to other people.
Hochschild specifically focuses on this dynamic in her study of Delta flight attendants and bill collectors. She describes ways in which contemporary men and women can become quite confused about their own feelings because they have been trained or soon learn to control their own feelings about other people and events that impact them every day.
According to Hochshild, Delta Airline flight attendants and bill collectors learn how to manage their own emotions so that they can more effectively perform their jobs. Flight attendants learn how to become enthusiastic about their passengers, so that they can be more friendly and hospitable– even when a passenger is rude. Conversely, Delta Airline bill collectors learn how to develop a feeling of disgust for their next client, so that they are immune to the hard luck stories that this client is likely to tell.
Hochschild compares the training that these Delta Airline employees receive to the “deep acting” that is taught to would-be actors and actresses, using the Stanislovsky (“method acting”) approach. The flight attendant and bill collector—like the method actor—learn how to “manage” their own emotions and thereby more effectively control their own behavior. Unfortunately, when these employees (and actors) become skillful with their managed hearts they no longer can rely on their emotions to provide them with an accurate sense of their real attitudes, values and feelings about other people or events. They have learned how to “con” themselves, hence no longer know who they really are.