THE BLOG

Four Keys to Manage Your Moods at Work

09/30/2013 12:57 EDT | Updated 11/30/2013 05:12 EST

"He's in a mood today." That's what Sarah said to me when we met to talk about an event she was planning. I was going to be meeting her manager for the first time, and Sarah wanted to warn me that Tom was in 'a mood', before he entered the room. I wondered how Tom might feel if he had known that Sarah -- and likely everyone else that worked with him -- felt they needed to alter their behaviour based on their manager's mood. In fact, it seemed clear to me, that Sarah's mood was directly impacted by Tom's.

Tom might argue that his moods are no one's business; he gets the job done and that is what he is being paid to do. But is he really getting the job done, if he is negatively impacting the people around him?

I believe that most of us would rather be in a 'good' (positive) mood (Tom too!), and we'd rather be working with people who are in a good mood too. Stress, overwhelming workloads, and the constant connection to technology seemingly required to function these days can cause the most calm of us to feel tense and anxious in short order. And that is costing us -- big time.  

Arianna Huffington, in her article "Burnout: The Disease of our Civilization" shares some interesting statistics on the real costs of burnout, including how "not only is there no trade-off between high performance and living a full life, the former is not possible in a sustainable way without the latter. And this applies to both companies and individuals."

She goes on to say, "There is no company whose bottom line will not be enhanced by healthier, happier, less-stressed, well-slept, centred employees.

One of the primary things keeping many businesses from adopting more sane and sustainable metrics of success is the stubborn -- and dangerously wrongheaded -- myth that prioritizing health and well being is incompatible with a healthy bottom line, and that there is a trade-off between high performance and taking care of ourselves. As countless studies show, this couldn't be less true."

While exercise programs, meditation rooms, and sponsored yoga classes are all great for creating a healthier (happier and more productive) organization, mood management is just as important. Moods are like viruses...they spread...within you and outside of you to others. In the end, mood management can be a matter of life and death.

I had the honour of delivering a TEDxManitoba talk, titled 'Choose Life' that goes directly to the heart of this matter. Take a few minutes (14:39 to be exact) to watch, and let me know what you think.

In the video, I describe one strategy for mood management -- be curious, caring and connected. When you start noticing even the slightest change in your mood (the way you feel), remember to PACE yourself:

Pause: Take a moment to stop and reflect.

Ask yourself (be curious): 'What am I seeing, hearing, feeling right now?' 'What's my story?'

Care: Express self-compassion. Rather than judging yourself for the way you are feeling, or for the thoughts you might be having, simply say to yourself, 'This is a challenging time right now.'

Engage: Connect with others. Speak with a trusted friend or co-worker to talk through a complicated situation. (Connecting with others is REALLY important! Check out this post about the dangers of social isolation.)

Tom could benefit from a little mood management -- and he will likely be pleasantly surprised at the difference it makes to him...and to the people with whom he works. Sarah too. How about you? Need a little mood management in your life?

De-Stress At Your Desk