Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve been happy or content and someone walks in; a work colleague, your partner, a friend, and they’re just plain angry or upset?

The lovely emotions you were surrounded by are gone and you start to feel a little angry or upset for them? Or even with them?

A good day can suddenly go bad, or, quite the reverse. You can be lifted out of wallowing in sadness by the jovial antics of those around you.

This phenomenon is referred to as ‘emotional contagion’ and it happens because, as humans, we are connected to each other emotionally.

You may remember from an earlier post that “Our ability to live in community with others is due to one of the most strongly wired networks in the brain. Our brains were tapped into listening and empathising, well before we used it as a tool for decision making and analysing.”

You may also remember that:
• Our brain registers social pain in exactly the same way that it registers physical pain.
• Our brain contains a set of neurons called mirror neurons.

Their job is to make you feel as if you are living in the other person’s mind and experiencing their thoughts and emotions

As a leader, whether a manager of a company, department or project, or a business owner leading a team of workers, your emotions will have an impact on those you are supposed to be leading. This will affect their concentration, productivity and performance in either a positive or negative way.

You can inspire and motivate your team through emotion and in turn, your team can inspire and motivate you. The problem in most organisations is that no one is managing the emotional mood within the organisation. It’s left to chance and consequently there are conflicts and clashes that leaders need to deal with, which should not have occurred in the first place.

Knowing that your people will experience your emotions through their mirror neurons, you are in a position to consciously create the emotional tone within your team. As leader, you can set the tone for your team by carefully managing your own emotions and choosing which you will allow to show. This requires a good understanding of yourself and an emotional self-awareness at all times.

Your team will feel what you appear to feel. Ask yourself what type and level of emotion will best benefit your team and your workplace and start building it.

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