Helping Leaders Achieve Greater Influence, Higher Engagement & Increased Results

How Well Do You Manage Your Mood?

Smileys AufheiterungThe uncomfortable truth for leaders is that you are constantly being watched. When you walk through the office door in the morning, you’re under scrutiny. While you sit at your desk, your people are watching you. They see the way that you go to get a cup of coffee and the way you sit in meetings. This means that whatever mood you are in will be picked up by the people you work with and lead, including those at a distance and even those on the end of a phone.

The author Charles Handy once said, “The leader’s job is not only to communicate the message, the leader is the message”. How you act and perform will affect the way in which your team act and perform – even without them realising it.

Why does this happen? There are two reasons:

1. Our brains are programmed to constantly make meaning of what we see and hear. If someone sees you sitting at your desk, wearing a frown or scowling, they will assume you are in a bad mood. Their brain will try to make mean of this and will make assumptions as to why you’re in a bad mood. These assumptions can quickly escalate into something much more dramatic than is really going on.limbic1

2. Thanks to ‘mirror neurons’ we all have a super power called empathy. This means that others around you may start to ‘feel’ the bad mood they assume you are in. Before long, they will start to snap at other people and make rash decisions too.
The key to stopping your mood from adversely affecting the work of your team, you need to be fully aware of your mood. Think about how you’re feeling on the way into work in the morning. If there is something annoying you that has nothing to do with what goes on within the office, make sure you leave it at the door when you go in.

A good mood is just as infectious as a bad mood, so think about how you can use some morning cheerfulness to lift the mood of your team. The next section will show you how to do this.

You can use the chemicals in your brain to actually change your mood – to lift and improve your mood if you’re feeling down. Here’s how:

1. Endorphins increase the feeling of euphoria and determination. They are called nature’s pain relief. Laughing is a good way to release helpful mood-lifting chemicals. Take a quick look at a short, funny video on YouTube and see how it makes you feel. Have a good stretch as this can also release these chemicals.
2. Dopamine is a motivation booster, releasing energy. Think about a small achievement you have recently made. Reminding yourself that every small step is progress and being proud of it will help release this useful chemical.
3. Self-respect is a powerful feel-good feeling and Serotonin is the chemical responsible. There is a delicate balance between feeling good about where you are in the ‘pecking order’ and arrogance. See it from a healthy influence point of view and you will feel good without appearing above others.

The next time you feel your mood slipping or your energy waning, think about how you can use the naturally occurring feel-good chemicals in your brain and see how you can change your mood.

By Peter Green

Peter is a speaker, workshop facilitator and author. Founder of Limbic Leadership, helping front line leaders harness the brain for massive influence, higher engagement and exceptional results from their teams. Leadership Development Grounded in Neuroscience!

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