Mood contagion may also have an effect on turnover. One study showed that people who reported having ‘de-energising colleagues’ were twice as likely to quit, with the effect particularly strong among that organisation’s top talent.
Mood contagion occurs because we have a tendency to mimic the non-verbal behaviours – such as facial expressions and postures – of others, which can allow moods to be transferred across groups. One study from Harvard University found that long-lasting moods can spread over large groups, through direct and indirect contact and bad moods appear to be slightly more infectious.
The good news is, you can reduce the impact of a negative mood in the workplace and prevent your staff picking up on one another’s bad mood. What’s more, managers who understand mood contagion can actually use it to their advantage. By instilling and modelling positive moods, you can create a more positive team dynamic, which can help increase performance and decrease staff turnover.
It’s important to understand that people don’t leave their feelings at home, and some decisions made in the workplace could be driven by emotion rather than logic.
If you become aware of negativity amid your team, try talking to those who appear to be involved, as these people may not realise how they are being perceived, or how much their mood is affecting the team.
If this is not possible, or doesn’t appear to help, please consult the appropriate people and policies in your organisation to help manage the situation.
As a manager, you’re in charge of setting the emotional climate of the workplace, so keep in mind that employees pay great attention to their managers’ emotions. These tips may help:
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