Friday, October 17, 2014

The Mood of the Leader Dictates the Mood of the Group

I'm pretty sure I gave everything away in the title, but that's OK.

The other day I was in a bad mood. Do you know what I mean? One of those days where you just feel like being upset. There's no particular reason behind it, but everything bothers you. I'm pretty sure that happens to everyone on occasion.

Normally it's OK because it means I'm annoyed about life while in a phone meeting and nobody really knows except myself. I'm in my own little upset world.

However, when you're leading a group of people, even if only two people, you have a HUGE influence on the demeanor of the group. Because of my bad mood, I immediately put both guys on edge. I could tell they were walking on eggshells around me, and that bothered me even more! Then they started to get frustrated too. Before long we were all in a bad mood.

Surprised by the influence I had on the group, I became hyper sensitive to my attitude and tried to fix it. Here's what I did:
  1. I admitted to the guys that I was in bad mood, and it wasn't their fault.
  2. I apologized to them for putting them on edge and tanking the group's attitude.
  3. I then went away and laid down for 20 minutes to essentially reset my day.
  4. I came back and let them know I was changing my attitude. And I did.
The group's attitude got better and we went back to working well together.

So, as a leader, people are watching and following. If you bring energy to a project, others will catch that energy. If you're a downer, others will be downers. If you don't care about the details, neither will they. If you work hard, so will they.

Another, more fundamental way to think about it: Act like the follower you want to have, because that's the type of attitude you'll attract.

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