How to Combat Your Negative Mood at Work
Once or twice each week, my local barista is the very first person I interact with in the morning. He's not friendly, seems unwilling to even crack a smile or mutter a "hi," and every time I stop for coffee I pray he's not there and maybe, just maybe, he has found a job that makes him feel more alive.
So, then I walk into work with my hot cup of grumpy-made coffee and assess the scene. Pretty quiet, as I am an early arrival to my floor at work. I have a decision to make: Do I carry forward my barista's bad mood into my workplace, or do I stop the cycle right then and decide to cast a positive mood across the rows of cubicles? Of course, if you know me at all, you know I choose the latter.
The trouble is, most of us do not stop ourselves to make that conscious decision before they enter their workplace or wherever they may spend most of their day. They leave it up to whatever mood baggage they carried from the day before or the side of the bed they woke up on. They let their subconscious decide. That is a big mistake, because you are in control of your own mood, and to enter a new day with anything less than a positive outlook is just setting yourself up for yet another day of negativity.
Why Does Mood Matter So Much?
In a recent study, customer service representatives (CSRs) were surveyed throughout their work day, it was shown that people who started off with a happy mood typically carried that mood with them throughout their day. By contrast, people who started with a terrible mood never really came out of that dark place, even when they interact with positive, happy people.
Furthermore, those service representatives who fell into the happy-mood camp tended to produce at a higher performance level than those who were negative. No surprise there. The negative people were prone to take a lot of breaks and "zone out" of their work as a way to escape their stress, and this led to a greater than 10% loss of productivity.
I think it's important to remind ourselves how integral we are as team members to the greater good of our work environment. We are allowed to be critical, yes, but at the same time we can avoid being critical in a negative way. Being a positive critic means you offer a positive solution to a negative situation. Otherwise, you are just pointing fingers at the negative and doing nothing to change for the better.
I had a boss once who only spoke up when she wanted to complain about something. She stayed quiet when there were business successes to celebrate. I didn't stay at that job very long!
Moods Have Consequences
Could you imagine your boss pulling you aside one day and saying to you:
"I want to talk about your mood, Ms. Nelly McNegative. You are sucking the life out of the ent