While walking to a client appointment the other day, I noticed a group of people laughing and clearly enjoying life. I suddenly found myself smiling and being affected by the happiness coming from this group of unknown people. So it really is true – emotions are contagious. And obviously the behaviour of smiling and laughing are clearly contagious as well. I am the proof of that.
While we as leaders intuitively know that emotions are contagious, we do not necessarily always think about this phenomenon before we act or speak. I came across this great article by Gina Belli at PayScale which reinforces the need for leaders to lead by example and treat your people with respect and compassion. The research also clearly states that some of our behaviours are more contagious than others - implying that leaders need to focus on developing themselves and their people and to be honest and act with integrity at all times. These behaviours will then be role modelled by those you lead.
Leaders should be seeking to create a supportive and engaging environment for their teams. No leader wants their people to be unhappy in the workplace as this results in a loss of motivation, productivity and can poison the overall culture of the business. Your role as a leader is to create an environment where your people grow, develop their skills, feel values and part of the team and can make a positive contribution to the outcomes of the business.
At Full Circle Feedback, our own research supports the concept that some emotions and behaviours are more contagious than others and the behaviours align with the research cited in this article. Therefore, leaders need to consider their own behaviours and the impact these behaviours may be having on their teams.
Remember, as Harvey S. Firestone said ‘The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership’.