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Mood Wring
How the moodfactor — yours, mine and theirs — affects work

When I was 14, I talked to my half-brother for the first time in seven years. He was estranged from my family because my father could not accept him; I’d only met him once in person.

Speaking on the phone was powerful. He paid attention to what I was saying. He listened with interest. And during a time when I felt that no one was listening to me, my brother’s mood allowed me to see myself in a new light.

Three days after that call, my brother was killed in a car accident.

But the aftermath of that temporary effect from his mood — upbeat, alive and completely present — changed my life permanently. I was so positively impacted by his positive mood during that conversation that I began to turn more toward people who encouraged me and were enthusiastic about life. I wanted to reflect my brother’s good mood to others, and in my work that is probably the number one thing that has made me a success; listening and inquiring with encouragement and enthusiasm always listening for possibility. Attending to my mood and the mood of others.

Sometimes. Bad moods happen. But so do good moods. And like it or not, mood permeates and surrounds the workplace in everything from organizational culture to customer interactions, team dynamics and individual interactions. You can’t see it but you can feel it and it influences everything we do, see and feel, yet we rarely identify it as critical to our success or the success of a team.

Imagine walking into a conference room for a meeting and suddenly smelling burning rubber; you’re overwhelmed with the sickening odor that burns your nostrils as a weird taste forms in your mouth.

Would you and your colleagues continue with the meeting? No way! You’d investigate the cause of the smell and seek fresh air.

But that’s exactly what happens when we sense a stinky mood and pretend everything is just fine. In a corporate environment, sour moods can turn toxic. We stop listening. We shoot down ideas. We roll our eyes. And then we grab our stuff and trudge like so many Eeyores to the next meeting.

Call it out! Address it!

Shifting Moods

Moods are ultimately—at their core—an assessment. Therefore, our ability to change our mood, or the mood of others, is to find and change the underlying assessment.

The mood you or your team are in is a reflection of what you are saying and thinking about the future.

Let’s face it bad/negative moods are a drag and a drag factor. When a bad mood is permitting it makes us less creative, more entrenched in whatever situation we are in and makes us victims to our circumstances. Good moods on the other hand can be uplifting, changing our biochemistry and our ability to see problems as opportunities. Moods effect our feelings and feelings effect possibilities.

Your mood speaks louder then your words, is contagious and permeates your entire being.

The first step in shifting moods is to recognize that we are “in a mood.” Often the mood is transparent and we think that the way we see the world is the way that it is. It is important to remember that as human beings we are always in a mood. We cannot escape this fact of life. Given that we are human beings, we will always have moods. It is therefore essential to remember that the way we are experiencing the world is never the “true” way the world is. It is always being filtered through our mood. And because our mood has us see the world with a particular spin we will gather evidence and only hear the things that are consistent with the current mood unless we grab the mood by the horns and alter it.


Start thinking about things that make you feel excited, happy and challenged. Work on the context first then the content. In other words if you are in a bad/negative mood–lighten up and change the narrative to one that is more positive. If that doesn’t work–think about something that makes you feel better.

We can cultivate new moods, ones that are more useful, empowering and make us and  our team feel better. As leaders, we can learn how moods influence our behavior in organizations and how to manage our own moods and the moods of our colleagues.

Developing an awareness of your moods and how you affect other people is important for any leader. Your body language, energy level, and the way in which you conduct yourself on an everyday basis speaks louder than action or words.

The Following Are Indicators Of Your Mood:

  • Energy level
  • Behavior
  • Personality
  • Tone of voice
  • Eye Contact
  • Presence
  • Approachability
  • Body Language 

The Following Moods Can Impact Situations At Work And At Home:

  • Boredom
  • Compassion
  • Despair
  • Humor
  • Anger
  • Cynicism
  • Confusion
  • Confrontation
  • Urgency
  • Skepticism
  • Openness
  • Peacefulness
  • Creativity
  • Resignation
  • Trust
  • Panic
  • Anxiety
  • Calm
  • Impatience
  • Relentless
  • Empathy
  • Patience
  • Resistance
  • Suspicion
  • Enthusiasm
  • Wonder
  • Resolution
  • Joy
  • Resentfulness
  • Sadness

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