How much does change of mood affect your team? Extremely positive and upbeat one moment as things seem to be going well and then something goes wrong which brings you down again.
The answer to the first question is ‘a great deal!’ It is often the unpredictability or extremes of your moods that have the greatest impact on your team. If your team members know that generally you are a pessimistic, straight talking but fair manager then they tend to make allowances. Likewise if you are normally an optimistic, positive manager but should you try to take advantage they will pull up, then they know where you stand.
Employees like everybody else in life, prefer to have some sort of stability so that normally they know how to behave around you as their manager. So if you recognise this situation there are certain things that you could or should do to manage your moods before it has a detrimental effect on the business and you personally.
Recognise The Change In Your Emotional State
If you are really determined to do something about this then the first step is to recognise when it is happening. We will analyse the ‘why?’ in a moment. Time management courses often recommend that you keep a task log where you record every task or activity you do during a period of time – a day, week etc. and of course how long it takes you to complete it. This technique can be adapted to keep a note of your moods or emotions as you work through your day.
Of course the easier ones to spot are the highs or the lows such as extreme positivity or extreme anger or frustration. Your ‘mood’ notes should include what happened that might have been the trigger for your change in mood. It is also useful to appreciate what the impact may be on your colleagues. Even extreme positivity can have a negative effect on them as you become too enthusiastic and expect them to be at the level as you. In fact it can be irritating and cause extra work as you expect everybody to stop what they are doing to join in your excitement! This may sound strange but the reality is often true.
Identify Possible Causes
Recognising your mood changes and the triggers will help you to analyse what is happening and when. This next stage means looking at trends in your behaviour and recognising how long this has been happening or whether it is part of your normal character. Stress caused by your personal lifestyle or circumstances and of course your work situation are the obvious starting points. Take a step back and consider what the likely outcome will be if you continue as you are. If you are struggling to find out why, ask for feedback from somebody you can trust. In larger firms there are now confidential occupational health help lines you can call. If you do not have access to these then try confiding in your partner, friend or colleague.
Another factor to consider is intolerance of different personalities. We will be looking at this in future articles to help you identify yours and other personalities as well as how to manage them effectively.
Manage Future Mood Changes
Knowing the possible causes and trigger points will make you more conscious and aware of when these changes of mood may happen. If it is stress in one form or another then there is plenty of advice available on this subject. The more common stress relievers include taking some form of exercise. I know there are many people who flinch even at the word ‘exercise’. The good news is that it can include taking a walk, somewhere, anywhere. There are two benefits of this. First the circulation of blood and oxygen through your body is always healthy. Secondly getting out from your normal environment enables you to get a much better perspective on life and specific problems in particular. Eating and sleeping habits can also have a significant effect on moods. Work / life balance should not be underestimated. Some organisations are now implementing curfews in the office to prevent people from staying too late. Consider implementing a curfew for yourself and ask for help in enforcing it!
Addressing the causes will help to reduce the situations where extreme mood swings occur but unfortunately it may not stop them all together. In this case we need to have a strategy for managing future mood changes.
One technique to use when you recognise the change in emotional state involves four simple steps; STOP, BREATHE, REFOCUS, CHOOSE.
STOP – Realise what is happening and stop what you are doing
BREATHE – Take time to get air to the brain and use the breathing process to calm down
REFOCUS – Take time to think through what is happening and what you want to achieve
CHOOSE – Make a decision that helps you achieve what you want and creates a positive impact on those around you
Remember this should be applied to extreme good moods as well as bad moods!
Well, we wish you luck in managing your moods in the future. If you prefer to have somebody who can help you through this stage in your life, somebody who is independent, please feel free to contact us. Our experienced coaches are ready to work with you at whatever level you are. For your own sake and the sake of your colleagues take action now!
Head of Training
Originally published: 18 March, 2013
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