Why your mood matters as a leader

Whether positive or negative, emotions can spread within a group of people - fast. Here we discuss why it starts with you as a leader and how you can start setting the right tone for your team.

by Rebecca Bridger

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Why your mood matters as a leader

Tuning into the energy of your team and being able to steer the overall mood is an attribute of a skilled leader, but how aware are you of your own energy projection and how this is affecting others? 

In this post, we explain ‘energy contagion’ and the different energy zones you operate in – as well as give you a free resource to start using today so you can develop the skills needed to influence disengaged, lacklustre team into a more proactive, dynamic one.

What is emotional contagion?

Emotional energy contagion describes the phenomenon where the emotional state of one person is transferred to another.

This often happens subconsciously, but even when we are conscious of other people’s moods, it doesn’t always stop us from adopting them.

It can cause us to unconsciously mimic and synchronise the facial expressions, posture and movements of another person1Hatfield, E., Cacioppo, J. T., & Rapson, R. L. (1994). Emotional contagion. New York: Cambridge University Press.

An extreme example of this is when you are faced with an aggressive driver – most of us would struggle to not feel aggravated for a while afterwards!

Impact in the workplace

Whether you are an expressive individual or not, your team are likely to be highly attuned to the nuances of your own emotional state. This gives a good indication of why culture can trickle down so quickly from the top, even within large organisations.

Emotional contagion be a real danger within teams at work if negative emotions, and their associated behaviours, spread from one person to others.

The good news is that the reverse is also true – positivity is infectious!

Something to try today

A useful tool for checking in with ourselves is the ‘energy zones quadrant’ – which you can download for free here

This framework was developed by Tony Schwartz, author of ‘The way we’re working isn’t working‘ and founder of ‘The Energy Project‘. 

It describes us as operating in one of four broad zones:

  • High-positive 
  • Low-positive 
  • High-negative 
  • Low-negative 
 
You can try mapping your own mood by plotting where you are twice a day – morning and afternoon – over the course of a working week. This will give you a picture of how much (or little) you are moving between the zones.
 

If any of this has been of interest and you would like further information on how this can be used for your own development, or that of your colleagues, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

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Rebecca Bridger

Rebecca Bridger

Founder of Hatching Ideas, Rebecca is an experienced coach and facilitator and is particularly passionate about helping others to realise their potential.
Rebecca Bridger

Rebecca Bridger

Founder of Hatching Ideas, Rebecca is an experienced coach and facilitator and is particularly passionate about helping others to realise their potential.

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