As a leader, you have the greatest influence on those whom you lead. A good day for you can lift the spirits of your team. Research shows that your positive emotions are contagious. Certainly the opposite is true. Yet, there is greater significance when you spread positive, contagious emotions. That is the focus of this article.
Distinguished psychology professor Barbara Fredrickson has devoted much of her research to positive, contagious emotions. She defines them as emotions such as joy, love, or inspiration. When these or other positive emotions are present, they expand our thinking and actions to complementary effects. Positive emotions drive related behaviors that inspire others to mimic them when observed. For example, if you are feeling inspired in a brainstorming meeting and you show it, it will likely rub-off on others who will model similar behaviors. Thus the emotion becomes contagious.
Benefits of Positive, Contagious Emotions
Positive, contagious emotions benefit your team and help drive towards desired organizational outcomes. These emotions help shape the work climate to be optimistic. Individuals thrive because of these two influences on performance.
Higher Team Performance
Simply put, positive emotions make you feel good. And when you feel good you perform at higher levels. It’s easier for you to reach peak performance. When you regularly experience positive emotions, you continually grow toward optimal functioning. A team influenced by positive, contagious emotions performs at higher levels.
When you feel good about yourself and your contributions, you are more likely to experience higher levels of creativity and resiliency. What Fredrickson has learned from her research is that positive emotions have an encouraging influence on a person’s identity and well-being.
Relationships are stronger and healthier where positive, contagious emotions are prevalent. Employees are seen as key partners in the success of the team and ultimately in the organization. Employees want to know that they are valued and not just some number built into the company’s balance sheet.
“A team influenced by positive, contagious emotions performs at higher levels.” -Shawn Murphy
Implications of Positive, Contagious Emotions
As a leader, you personally benefit by demonstrating actions that evoke positive emotions. The implications listed below have significant influence on your own satisfaction as a leader. The implications also help shape the climate so that workplace optimism can emerge.
Inspire People to Overcome Challenges