Mood is a phenomenon we’re all subject to. Our mood can change like the wind or hang around for weeks. What’s for sure is that it colours the way we experience the world on a daily basis. Until now you may have never really given it much thought, other than when you’ve been told to ‘get out of your mood!’ Perhaps then, consider the profound impact it’s having, both good and bad, on you and those around you. In particular, the impact on your ability to lead others and get the best out of them.
Mood is something both physical and psychological. It isn’t something that only happens in your mind, but in your whole ‘being’. It is little wonder then that this phenomenon is forming the way you show up to others and to yourself, all the time.
The mood you woke up in today has already effected how much you enjoyed your journey to work, how productive you’ve been this morning and if you can be bothered to speak to that supplier/colleague/manager. Or not. It’s probably also effected how you felt when you caught a glimpse of yourself in a mirror...whether you were engaged and willing in that meeting or just didn’t want to ‘play’ so stayed quiet…whether you laughed at the bad joke a colleague made, or not. As a leader, consider your mood a gauge of how successful you could be today. Given what you want to achieve, are you in the right mood?
If the impact of our mood on ourselves is big, the impact of our mood on others in the workplace can be seismic. It can impact their sense of confidence, empowerment, wellbeing and general freedom to be themselves and enjoy their work. Essentially, our mood effects how others feel and behave around us. In other words it effects their mood. Put this into a leadership context and it’s probably effecting how much people want to be at work today and how productive they will be… Sound dramatic? It might do, but notice how your mood is effecting everyone around you right now. What is the general vibe in your office today? Did you say good morning when you walked through the door? Do people feel like you are approachable? Can they challenge you today or would they be better to keep quiet and not ‘poke the bear’?
When you combine mood with power, its potency and impact is greatly increased. It can become very infectious. So can the reaction to it. Take this for example. If your mood makes people fearful and quiet, it can spread like wildfire, turning otherwise confident individuals into timid, anxious, ‘yes’ people. If you are upbeat and optimistic, you might notice others being forthcoming and open with their ideas. Even pushing the boundaries and being a bit daring if your mood goes as far to allow it.
Why is this an important leadership lesson? Well, we have a responsibility for the mood we are in. This doesn’t mean we have to feel stupendously positive every day, but we are responsible for who we are being when we are leading other people and the impact that’s having. This isn’t about being nice, it’s about enabling others to be productive and empowered to contribute fully. As leaders we can have a profound effect, both good and bad on the wellbeing and general happiness of those we lead. We need to be both aware and responsible with this power entrusted in us and not take for granted the strength of others to tolerate and challenge us. We can’t control the mood we wake up in, but we can decide how we react to it. How much ‘life’ we give it. How seriously we take it. We can decide, at any given time, if it is in charge of us or vice versa. This is true for everyone but is particularly important for great leaders. Consider how just being conscious of your mood gives you the option to shift it. Declare silently to yourself now what mood you are in.. tired? disinterested? frustrated? positive? relaxed? Being loudly aware of the mood you’re in gives you a choice. To either stay in that mood or let it go and try something else. Consider also, how open you are to feedback from your team and fellow leaders. Do you make yourself open to being told when your mood is effecting other people? Would they wait for you to leave the room before having a good old moan behind your back? Or could they take you to one side and share the impact they see you are having?
This week, declare the mood you are in at the start of each day. Once you are conscious of it, you might consider the following options:
Change your day to suit it; rather than growling at everyone in the office (!) I’m going to work from home today. Or; I’m in a creative mood; I might bring that call forward as my ideas are really flowing.
If your mood isn’t conducive to what you want to achieve, ask yourself what mood you would rather be in. Often, just declaring your mood and testing it is enough to shift it.
Your mood is just the ticket for what you want to accomplish (even if that means sitting on the couch in your pyjamas). Enjoy!