Bad Mood

A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel. -Bible, Proverbs 15:18

"What kind of mood is the boss in?" is a common question asked by workers in an organization. The answer often determines the kind of day that employees will experience. If the boss is in a good mood, everyone else usually is as well. But, if the boss is in a bad mood, watch out, as the team will follow suit.

The psychological term for this phenomenon is "emotional contagion." As humans, we tend to take on the emotions of people around us. The leader of the group has a disproportionate influence, as employees look to the leader for clues as to how they should behave. A few points for leaders of organizations to remember are:


  • The leader sets the emotional tone for her organization. If the leader is positive, affirming and enthusiastic, those around her will share these beneficial emotions. Although all organizations will profit from this, companies that depend on great customer service will particularly benefit, as employees reflect these emotions to customers.


  • You need to learn to discipline your emotions. There were many times that I came to work tired or stressed, or became that way through the day. However, I refused to burden my team with my anger or anxiety. Having worked for hot-tempered bosses, I know the destructive, demoralizing influence of an emotionally uncontrolled leader.


  • Disciplining your emotions comes from daily awareness and practice. You should notice how your emotions impact others. Try going through the day in a very positive mood, and watch how well your team responds. At Disney, Cast Members are reminded that once you go "on-stage" (into areas that have Guests), you need to smile and be positive. There are even mirrors at backstage entrances, with the phrase "Are you wearing your smile?" As leaders, we are always "on-stage" and need to reflect that in our emotions.


Surpassing leaders who discipline their emotions, refrain from bursts of anger and maintain a positive outlook are rewarded with highly productive, conquering teams that excel beyond measure.

Action Points
• Remember that your emotions have a disproportionate impact on your people—as the leader, you establish the mood of the team.
•  Be positive, affirming and enthusiastic, especially if you lead customer-facing areas.
•  Discipline your emotions, and be particularly careful about displaying anger.

A positive, encouraging work environment, high morale for your team, outstanding interactions with customers

Excerpted from Chapter 35, Bad Mood, of The Surpassing Life: 52 Practical Ways to Achieve Personal Excellence,

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