Randall Kratz, FEI Senior Account Manager

Have you ever found yourself stuck in a bad mood that a never-ending Winter and late arriving Spring can produce? Anyone, including a manager, can experience mood swings for any number of reasons.

Frequent moodiness can originate biologically, resulting from unbalanced brain chemistry, poor diets, sleep patterns and other lifestyle habits. It can also be the result of temporary and situational triggers such as difficult employee behaviors, deadlines at work, pressure from superiors, the receipt of bad news or other personally challenging situations at home.

When two or more people are in close contact, they often take on the emotional disposition of one of the more prominent group members—or in this case, the boss. Even in a hierarchal environment like the workplace, emotions are contagious and can serve to destabilize employees and severely impact their productivity, concentration, engagement and overall state of mind. Negative emotions at work have been shown to diminish both creativity and openness.

When employees experience the stress or mood swings of their boss, it can lead to poor performance. Because survey research has commonly confirmed most people quit their jobs due to the boss and not the company, it’s vital for supervisors to be constantly aware of their emotions and how their moods can affect employees.

So, before you put everyone on performance improvement plans and then go home to fire the dog, make the following commitments to your own happiness:

Let things go.

When you feel challenged or judged, let it pass. A strong and confident leader is comfortable in their own skin, accepts people for who they are and doesn’t take things personally.

Be kind.

Demonstrate security in your leadership by not reacting negatively to others. Remember the contagious effect of interpersonal communication: Kindness begets kindness.

Think of problems as challenges.

Whether it’s difficult employee behavior or a stressful event, consider what you can learn from challenging experiences. In the words of Kanye West (or maybe Nietszche), “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.”

Practice gratitude.

Is someone doing something that meets the needs of your workplace? If you communicate appreciation, that individual will be more willing to help you in the future. Saying thank you is more than good manners, it’s positive karma.

Be honest and authentic.

Misrepresenting yourself and the facts of a situation can compromise your integrity and the trust others have in you. As a manager, consistent honesty gives your employees something genuine to which they can react.

Accept what can’t be changed.

Sure, we all wish we were the smartest person in the room. We wish to be loved by everyone we work with . . . but we rarely are. As soon as you accept who you are, what you’re good at and that you can’t make everyone happy, you’ll find some peace.

Stop before negative and faulty thinking takes over.

Know your triggers and pet peeves. Help employees know what’s important to you and what you need from them. Teach them about your leadership style. Misunderstandings and misperceptions can create much stress and unhappiness.

Keep in touch with your friends and family.

Being a manager can be a lonely job. Bosses especially need the value personal relationships offer. It’s important to keep in touch with loved ones, whether through weekly phone calls or an annual visit. Good friends also help to inspire and support happy people; take time out of your week to communicate with them.

Employee assistance programs (EAP) are awesome tools and resources for leaders to use to support their employees’ well-being. Don’t forget that you are also an employee who may need help from time to time as well.

If your happiness levels need a tuneup, do what you tell your employees to do: Call the EAP.