There’s no doubt about it, emotions are contagious. If you are in a meeting and someone is angry, it doesn’t take long before almost everyone in the room starts feeling irritated to some degree. Positive Psychology calls this the spillover effect. Simply put, my mood affects your mood and vice versa.
As a teacher, I am very cognizant of how my emotions affect my students and how they can either make or break the learning environment. Because of this, I always attempt to start my class kind greeting and a positive quote to try and put everyone in a good mood.
I remember one class period, however, where I became irritated with my students for continuing to talk after I had already begun addressing the class. At this point, I voiced my frustration as my emotions echoed in my voice. The class got quiet, but you could feel the tension in the room. I knew right away that if I didn’t find a way to lower the tension, not much learning would take place that day.
After taking a moment to center myself, I apologized for my behavior. I then went on to explain to the students why I had felt so irritated and why it was important for everyone to get quiet once I have addressed the class. At this point, some of the students also apologized, the stress started to melt away, and we all returned to our normal way of interacting.
My classroom is just like an organization. It can be a very productive environment filled with positive and creative emotions, or it can be a swamp of negativity. The negative emotions of one person can spillover into the entire system causing everyone to feel its consequences. The following are four ways the spillover effect may be affecting your organization’s culture and bottom line.
When the primary emotion of the culture is negative, productivity naturally goes down. If someone in your organization goes around snapping at others, then their anger naturally spills over into every person they interact with. As a result, the people they encounter become irritated, and the pattern of negativity just continues throughout the culture.
On the other hand, productivity can increase when everyone is feeling relaxed. If the team leaders are enthusiastic and encouraging, their positivity also spills over onto the people they come in contact with throughout the day.
In both cases, there is a domino effect.
Team building is so important in organizations that bringing in a professional to build a feeling of unity is big business. The irony here is that once the retreat is over and you put away the team building games and activities someone comes through the organization yelling and criticizing people destroying all of the progress made at the retreat. Employees are less likely to work together when they are feeling animosity towards other employees.
Employees are more likely to work together when they are feeling happy, equal and appreciated. A strong positive presence can go just as far to ignite teamwork as a negative one can to break it down.
Customers are also affected by the culture of a business. The happier and more relaxed the environment is, the more likely a customer is to make their purchase. When they employees are spilling over with positive emotions, customers feel that, shop longer and buy more often.
When employees are unhappy, customers feel this as well. Instead of buying, they try to escape the negative environment by leaving as quickly as possible.
Great salespeople understand that the customer must trust the salesperson first before they will buy the product. Trust comes down to one thing, liking you. If I like you, then I trust you. If you are radiating positive emotions, then I will find you more likable, and therefore more trustable.
4. Job Satisfaction
An organization that if filled with negativity breeds contempt and disharmony among the workers. When this happens, workers are less likely to be fulfilled or even satisfied with their jobs. This disharmony leads to stress, which leads to low morale and missed workdays.
When positivity fills the environment, the opposite happens. Workers show up to work more often, feel happier and experience less stress. On top of that, their happiness spills over into all the other areas of their jobs. They show up to work because they want to, get more done while they are there, help each other succeed and create an environment that customers feel happy to do business in.
Question: How is the spillover effect affecting your organization? You can leave a comment by clicking here.