I had an interesting question posed to me this past week: Does being in a good mood or a bad mood affect your ability to carry out your role as a leader, manager, or supervisor? Let’s tackle that issue.
You’ve probably heard comments like this at your workplace: Wow, she got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning or I wonder why he’s so grumpy today? If you’re in a good mood or a bad mood, your coworkers and employees can usually spot it a mile away. As so aptly put in a quotation by Charles Rosenblum: On a bad day, I have mood swings -- but on a good day, I have the whole mood playground.
While emotions are intense feelings that are directed at someone or something, moods are feelings that are usually less intense and aren’t typically linked to a particular individual or a specific event. Researchers often use “positive affect” and “negative affect” when referring to “good mood” and “bad mood,” but we'll stick with using everyday language for this discussion.
Research suggests that when leaders are in good moods, members of their teams are more positive, and thus the team members tend to cooperate more. Much of this comes from the contagion of moods and emotions. When someone is in a good mood and laughs and smiles, people often tend to copy that person’s behavior. This happens with negative moods as well. If you are grumpy, cranky, or mean, employees and coworkers can “catch” this negativity. If the grumpy person is in a direct customer service role, this bad mood can easily have a negative effect on customers as well.
Being in a good mood can also help your creativity, according to some research. People who are experiencing positive moods are often more flexible and open in their thinking. By encouraging employees and providing positive feedback on exceptional job performance, managers can very much help in keeping employees happy and in a positive mood, which in turn bolsters and supports employees to be more creative.
Here’s the really good news: Research shows that there is a tendency for most individuals to experience a mildly positive mood at zero input (i.e., when nothing in particular is going on). Therefore, most folks start each day from the place of being in a good mood.
So, does your mood affect your ability to carry out your job?
(By the way, survey research has also clearly shown that positive moods are highest at the end of the week. Have a great weekend everyone!)
Scott Derrick is the Director of Professional Development at the Senior Executives Association, a nonprofit professional association of career federal executives. Scott is also an executive coach and leadership consultant with the Federal Executive Development Group LLC, a consulting company specializing in leadership development in the federal sector. The views expressed here are his own.