By Cloé Caron
Do you know how much your emotions play a key role in engaging your teams at work? As leaders, we often underestimate the impact our emotional reactions can have on our team. However, mastering emotions is one of the most powerful tools leaders use to significantly influence their teams. This phenomenon is known as emotional contagion, which refers to the transmission of emotions from one person to another, creating a collective emotional atmosphere.
But what is emotional contagion, its influence in our professional environments, and, most importantly, what can we do to master our emotions and have the best possible impact on our teams?
Understanding Emotional Contagion:
Emotional contagion is a natural phenomenon through which emotions spread from one person to another, whether it’s joy, sadness, anger, or any other emotion. This process can be involuntary and occur subconsciously, but it has a profound impact on interpersonal relationships and the team’s atmosphere. When a leader expresses and exhibits emotions, they can be transmitted to team members, influencing their mood, motivation, and performance.
Here are a few concrete examples in business settings :
Let’s take the example of a leader who demonstrates optimism, confidence, and enthusiasm when communicating with their team. These positive emotions tend to spread, creating a motivating and inspiring work environment. Team members feel encouraged, engaged, and are more inclined to collaborate effectively. On the other hand, if a leader expresses frustration, stress, or irritability, these negative emotions can reflect on team members, generating a sense of demoralization, dissatisfaction, and potentially a decline in performance.
Have you ever experienced a situation at work where your mood was positively or negatively impacted by a colleague or your boss ? If so, what were the impacts on your productivity and motivation ?
A survey published in 2016 by Korn Ferry/Hay Group demonstrated that 70% of team climate variation can be explained by managers’ conduct and attitude. In other words, leaders’ emotional behavior has a predominant influence on the team’s atmosphere and collective well-being. Moreover, maintaining a positive work and team climate could increase company performance by 30%. These figures highlight the crucial importance of leaders’ emotional management in fostering a productive and fulfilling professional environment for everyone.
My Solutions to Emotional Contagion:
Use the “I’M OK – U OK” model : As a leader, we must strive to adopt an equal stance with others. This posture changes daily, just like our emotional states, which is why it’s important to take the time to position ourselves through this model (available in my book, “Propulsez votre équipe”).
Practice mindfulness: The practice of mindfulness allows leaders to connect with the present moment, gain perspective, and respond to stressful situations in a calmer and more thoughtful manner. This fosters an emotionally balanced environment and reduces the risks of transmitting stress or anxiety to team members.
Show empathy: Developing empathy allows leaders to put themselves in their colleagues’ shoes, understand their emotions, and react appropriately. Empathy promotes the creation of a supportive and mutually understanding environment, thus reducing the negative effects of emotional contagion.
Emotional contagion is an unavoidable reality in professional environments. Leaders’ emotions have a significant impact on their teams, influencing their motivation, well-being, and performance. By understanding this phenomenon and implementing solutions such as the “I’M OK – U OK” model, mindfulness, and empathy, leaders can foster a positive, inspiring work climate conducive to collective growth. By becoming aware of their own emotional influence, leaders can become agents of change for the well-being of their teams and the success of their company.
Would you like to benefit from more tips and tools to boost your leadership ?
My book, “Empower your Team,” will be your secret weapon to access them!