Video: Are you in the mood? (Part 1)
People who come through our courses often ask our trainers why their managers are in management roles. When we ask what they mean by this, we hear responses like “My manager doesn’t have any people skills” or “My manager takes their bad moods out on us”. This makes me think, “Maybe the people asking these questions have a point.” It sounds to me like their managers are missing a key ingredient that could make them great leaders – emotional intelligence.
But how does this work? How does emotional intelligence make you a better leader? The short answer is emotional intelligence empowers you to set, drive and respond to situations with the right mood and the right tone. An emotionally intelligent manager is aware that it’s not enough just to go through the motions and manage the processes, you also need to be in the mood to manage people.
Now, let’s go into a bit more detail and look at some key ways that emotional intelligence impacts your leadership.
The first thing you need to understand is that, as a team manager or leader, you set the emotional tone for your people.
When you first become a leader it may come as shock to realise that your mood is no longer a personal thing or that is no one else’s business. It is very much a public thing, but that doesn’t have to be bad. It means you have an opportunity to influence people, and you can choose to develop your ability to use that power in a positive way.
This won’t be easy at first. You’ll need to some self-reflection and observe how you communicate your emotions to others. Are you coming into work with the same emotions you want your team members to portray? Are the emotions you are showing other people accurate to how you are feeling? How expressive are you with your face, your voice and your gestures?
The next point I want to make is that bad moods may seem trivial from a business point of view, but they aren’t.
Emotions and moods have real consequences for your team getting their work done. If you are a manager that spreads bad moods, then you are bad for business. A manager who is always in a bad mood can unknowingly distress team members, and distress erodes mental abilities and focus. Not to mention, distressed team members can start to lose a grip on their own emotional intelligence and affect other team members. It’s self-perpetuating, and as a manager you are in the best position to break the cycle of bad moods, especially if you started it.
The good news is, good moods are good for business, and they are contagious.
When people feel good, because they have a manager that sets the appropriate tone and mood, they work at their best. Feeling good is good for your brain. It lubricates mental efficiency, helps us understand information better and faster and allows us to be more flexible in our thinking, which is really good for business.
Sadly, many managers are motivated to climb the corporate or government career ladder simply for money, higher status and more power. And I can see how these desires drive a lot of people to pursue management roles, but these desires certainly do not drive the right type of leadership behaviours that engage our team members. Simon Sinek, cultural anthropologist, author and leadership expert talks about these people, these ‘managers’ without the people skills. He essentially says “we do as they say because they have authority over us, but we would not follow them” and he’s right, we wouldn’t. An emotionally intelligent manager is aware that it’s not enough just to go through the motions and manage the processes, you also need to be in the mood to manage people. If you want to know how you can use your mood to manage and influence people, subscribe now so you don’t miss out on part 2 of this series.