Emotional contagion is a strong force in the workplace which means that managing emotions is a core skill for leaders because their emotions have the greatest impact on their organization’s atmosphere and culture (see the source articles noted below for more insights on the science behind emotional contagion). Today we want to take things one step further and suggest that leaders can be deliberate with their emotions, even have an emotional plan, and this can help them lead with positive impact through the last few weeks of the year.
The fourth quarter for many organizations means planning and budgeting for next year followed by a mad dash to make sure this year’s objectives are met. All this pressure blends with the joys and stresses of the holiday season during the last 5 to 6 weeks of the year. In essence leaders have many overlapping and often conflicting objectives as the year draws to a close.
- A push to deliver this year’s objectives and stay on budget
- Busy social schedules – work and family function commitments
- Facilitate a positive / holiday atmosphere at work; have some fun
- Keep the team productive
- Help employees to feel special while not showing favoritism
- Manage work loads with fewer resources as people take extra time off
Since leaders are human, these positive opportunities and stressors bring out emotions, perhaps more elevated than normally. Leaders who put thought into what they want the organization to achieve, and what atmosphere they want to be present during this unique time of year can have an oversized impact on how things will turn out.
Planning when you want to be focused, joyful, curious, direct, etc. to best support your (the organization’s) objectives regardless of your own emotions, can elevate your leadership to a new level. Just exposing yourself to the thought process of deliberately planning your outward emotions will raise your emotional intelligence as you contemplate how your behaviors and actions will impact others and ultimately impact achieving your plan. You won’t get it right every minute of every day, but having a plan to guide you will help ground you and bring you back to where you want to be when conflicting priorities raise the emotional temperature at work.
Don’t let productivity or an enjoyable workplace during the holiday season slip away this year, plan your emotions and your personal presence so that your organization achieves both. Who knows, if the year closes well, you might want to start the New Year with a plan for deliberate emotions as well.