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Emotions at the workplace

People don’t wear their emotions on their sleeves. They are their emotions and moods! And contrary to what most people think, a successful organization has little to do with its people’s performance than the emotions and moods they show up with.

If you’re wondering what’s the difference between emotions and moods, allow me to share a textbook explanation (literally, don’t remember which textbook though):

Emotions are intense feelings directed at someone or something.
Moods are less intense but can arise without a specific event acting as a stimulus.

And if you’re wondering how emotions and moods determine organization success, you’re not alone. Several factors influence one’s emotions and moods, including the following:

  1. Personality: most people are moody or experience negative or positive emotions more than others. It’s part of their nature.
  2. Time of the day: if you’ve met people who’ve are sulky at 4 pm, you can be sure it has less to do with the email their boss sent but more a “mood” thing. Of course, these might be the same folks you’ll find super-energetic at 7 pm! One survey that tracked the positive and negative messages on Twitter concluded that users are the most positive in the evenings than mornings most days of the week.
  3. Day of the week: don’t we all love the “weekend?” TGIF is a thing for real! And so is “Monday morning blues.”
  4. Weather: While there’s no conclusive evidence stating weather has a direct effect on our moods. Most people believe that the weather dictates their mood. If the weather is “nice,” they’re on a high, which directly impacts their work and behavior.
  5. Stress: This is self-explanatory. Stress at any level, place, or time can negatively impact one’s emotions and mood. Some people, however, thrive under pressure, but that’s not the norm.
  6. Social activities: This can enhance one’s mood like anything. But then, the emotions and moods change according to the setting. For example, an informal gathering with colleagues, friends, and family is much more relaxing than a formal meeting where your CEO or direct supervisor is quizzing people.
  7. Sleep: A big, albeit often ignored aspect. Sleep impacts our emotions and mood more significantly than any other point in this list — both in the long and short term. Lack of sleep is associated with irritability, inability to focus, fatigue, and dissatisfaction.
  8. Exercise: I’m big on this. And yes, I genuinely believe it can significantly enhance one’s mood. Skipping it usually ruins it for me. So, I make it a point to move no matter what day or time it is. On my off-days, I do short 15-20 minutes of mobility and flexibility drills, which makes me happy!
  9. Age: Young people are more positive than their older counterparts. If that’s what you believe in, you’d be wrong! Research clearly states that older people are much happier and more content (and much longer) than the young ones.
  10. Sex: Women are more emotional than men. By that, I mean, they’re more expressive of their emotions, which would’ve been a great thing if they were equally expressive of their anger. They’re not. Men are. That’s precisely why you never know when your wife/girlfriend/sister/mother is angry but can tell from a distance when your husband/boyfriend/brother/father is.

I hope the list above explains why determining an organization’s success isn’t as simple as citing “high-performance.” There’s a whole lot more to people’s performance that we don’t think about often. Yes, I know it’s a complex topic to discuss and think about, but we can’t ignore if maximizing people’s potential for high-performance is a priority for your company.

We’re complex beings, and negating (the whole of) us for something as superficial as performance or metrics is ineffective and stupid.