Feeling emotionally connected to your client can cut both ways

Feeling a connection with your clients can be a double-edged sword. It can fuel your personal satisfaction. It can also lead to burnout.

This is according to”Financial Feeling: An Investigation of Emotion and Communication in the Workplace,”an academic study by Katherine I. Miller and Joy Koesten, which appeared in the Journal of Applied Communication Research. The article was based on a survey answered by almost 300 financial planners.

However, the study also found that “the most effective and satisfying relationships for financial planners came when they truly cared about the client and saw themselves in a relationship with the client. These connections–when genuine–did not cause burnout.”

Here are the authors’ tips to help you avoid burnout:

  • Understand that financial planning involves relationships as much as it involves numbers.
  • Try to understand the relational needs of your clients through active listening and taking the perspective of the other.
  • Develop a stance of empathic concern in your client relationships where you feel for the client but do not feel with the client.
  • Realize that relationships exist at different levels, and it is sometimes okay to “paste on a smile” if it helps to accomplish the goals of you and your client. At the same time, it is important to remain true to core convictions about your profession and your relationship with clients.
  • Work to understand norms of interaction in different organizational and national cultures, and interact in ways appropriate for those cultures.
  • Rely on others for social support when dealing with stress. Coworkers who understand your job are particularly good at giving advice or just providing a listening ear.