As the leader of your team, most often you are the one directly responsible for the good or bad mood of your team members. Surprising? According to this Harvard Business Review article, “The leader’s mood and behaviors drive the moods and behaviors of everyone else. A cranky and ruthless boss creates a toxic organization filled with negative underachievers who ignore opportunities; an inspirational, inclusive leader spawns acolytes for whom any challenge is surmountable. The final link in the chain is performance: profit or loss.”
Your emotional style sets the tone for those you lead – you have a direct and powerful impact on the mood and behaviors of the ones you lead. I can still remember when I was about to become the commander of an Army unit, the admonishment of my battalion commander. First he said, “Your duties are simple, you are responsible for everything your unit does or does not do.” Then he went on to say that an Army unit eventually takes on the personality of its commander and if I did not like how it was operating, to go look in the mirror for the cause of the problem. The bottom line is that your emotional style will become the emotional style of your team. The researchers call it mood contagion.
What that means is that your emotional intelligence is critical to your success as a leader. It means you have to come to a deep understanding of yourself; your strengths, weaknesses, conflict management style, preferences, tendencies, how you project yourself, and all the other aspects of who you are – good and bad. By the way, you can’t do this alone. You need to take the various excellent personality assessments that are out there and then have a knowledgeable person walk you through what the assessments mean. You need to have a personal 360 SWOT done by those in your life. It won’t be fun, but it will be oh so valuable!
As a leader (actually everyone), you need to learn to manage your inner life. To lead effectively you need to be an authentic person that sets the proper emotional tone for your team. Your emotional leadership sets the tone for your team and is one of the most important factors for the success of your team.
So in what ways do you set the emotional tone for your team? How are you managing your inner life?
Have a great weekend!