Project managers are usually the people the whole team looks up to in a challenging situation. When the project is not going as well as it should, creating a stressful environment, project managers should primarily aim at maintaining the team focused. For that purpose, poker face and emotional suppression could aid the team in completing the project. Additionally, if the project is time-pressured, the emotional suppression of the supervisor via poker face can boost the team’s creativity and emotional stability (Chen et al., 2021). However, even though displaying a poker face can sound difficult and intimidating, it is always possible to succeed in it.
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The main thing that should not be forgotten is that a poker face is not an escape from the situation. Instead, focusing on the current event and attempting to view it as objectively as possible could help exhibit a good poker face. Avoiding being emotional but continuing to demonstrate confidence and optimism is something that any team requires from their leader in a stressful situation.
Indeed, it is much more disadvantageous for the team when the project manager displays a poker face without communicating with the team. Understanding each other is the key element of successful teamwork. However, if done poorly, maintaining a happy and cheerful face when things are not going well can damage the team’s spirit. Remaining happy can prove to be quite challenging since it is the complete opposite of the feelings a project manager could experience in such situations; it could be taken as fake and insincere. Most people are able to see past fake facial expressions and emotions. As such, instead of showing an opposite spectrum of emotions, it could be much safer to keep to the middle by remaining emotionless.
Chen, W., Liu, X., & Zhang, X. (2021). When and why does a “poker face” facilitate workplace creativity? Management Decision, 59(10), 2309-2328.