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Work Teams Who Share Negative Emotions Better at Problem-Solving

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Work teams who openly express their negative feelings share more information, have greater solidarity and are better at solving complicated analytical problems, a new study has found.

Many businesses and organizations want employees to limit negative emotions and only show positive ones. But a study from the Netherlands suggests that isn't always the right strategy.

Participants were shown cheerful or sad films and then monitored as they worked together on difficult decision-making tasks. Groups who saw a sad film and then talked about it before they started their task did the best on their assignment.

Dutch researcher Annefloor Klep also gave certain groups the impression that there was a problem with their relationships. If the members of these groups talked about these problems, they quickly put them aside and worked as a team on their task.

The study also found that sharing positive emotions can help with creative tasks, especially if team members are sure about their feelings. However, a team handled analytical tasks better if its members shared negative emotions.

Sharing emotions can benefit teams that often work together over long periods of time, Klep concluded.

More information

The American Psychological Association offers tips for coping at work and school.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, news release, Nov. 15, 2010

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