How to Moderate the Effect of Negative Moods on Your (Team's) Performance

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Emotional Intelligence > Best Practices > How to Moderate the Effect of Negative Moods on Your (Team's) Performance

How to Moderate the Effect of Negative Moods on Your (Team's) Performance
Anneke Zwart, Student (University), Netherlands, Moderator
You and your employees experience different moods. These moods can be roughly divided into positive and negative moods. Moods are important, because they influence the level of performance at work. Negative moods lead to lower levels of performance and productivity, and a good mood is often associated with higher levels of performance.

However less is known about:
1. Why negative moods are associated with poor performance, and
2. What can be done about it.
Chi, Chang and Huang (2015) studied the types of negative moods and their associations with performance and productivity levels by applying a self-control theory. Some types of self-control related characteristics are able to mitigate the effects of negative moods on performance and productivity levels. If organizations can adapt their organizational practices towards such characteristics they can create an environment in which performance and productivity levels can be maximized.

What is self-control? Self-control is referred to as the ability to control one’s emotions, behaviors and thus performances so as to realize one’s personal objectives and desires. When one fails to control one-self (self-control failure), a negative mood will be experienced.

According to the self-control theory, negative moods lead to lower-levels of self-control in three ways:
  1. CAPACITY-MECHANISM: People that experience a negative mood need to make effort to reduce the negative moods, which leaves less capacity for other self-control goals, resulting in self-control failures.
  2. MOTIVATION-MECHANISM: Negative moods reduce one’s motivation to regulate goal-oriented behaviors and thus reduces the willingness to put effort into pursuing your personal objectives sand interests.
  3. RESOURCE-MECHANISM: this line of reasoning suggests that negative moods deplete individuals’ resources that are necessary to control their emotions and behaviors used to achieve their personal goals and interests. It assumes that regulatory resources for self-control are only limited.
What type of individual characteristics can mitigate the negative effects of negative moods on performance and productivity? According to the study, there are differences in self-control tendencies of people. These differences among individuals moderate the effects of negative moods on their self-control:
  1. CONSCIOUSNESS: Individuals with high levels of consciousness are often characterized as hard-working, persistent and responsible people. They are highly motivated to achieve personal goals. A high level of consciousness moderates the effects of negative moods on performance and productivity levels mainly through the motivation-mechanism.
  2. POSITIVE DAILY MOOD: A positive mood moderates the effects of negative moods on performance and productivity levels by increasing the resources that are necessary for self-control. Besides, daily positive moods counterbalance the depletion of resources for self control in case of negative moods. As such, higher levels of daily positive moods moderate the effects of negative moods on performance and productivity levels mainly through the resource-mechanism.
  3. EMOTIONAL STABILITY: Stable people have a higher level of capacity to cope with their emotions – positive and negative emotions – and regulate other impulses as well. As such, a negative moods is less likely to lead to self-control failure among emotionally stable people. As such, this individual characteristic mainly works through the capacity-mechanism.
Chi, N. Chang, H. and Huang, H. (2015) “Can Personality Traits and Daily Positive Moods Buffer the Harmful Effects of Daily Negative Mood on Task Performance and Service Sabotage? A Self-control Perspective” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Process
See also PowerPoint: Managing Psychological Well-being in Workplaces (Premium required).

Can Self Control Theory also be Applied to Group/Organizational Emotions?
Andreas Jansen
There are not only moods or emotions on an individual level, but also on an organizational level we can find 'moods and emotions'. Could we also use this self-control perspective (consciousness, positive daily mood, emotional stability) on an organizational level? And what kind of interventions do we need?

Association and Self Control
srinivas, Lecturer, India, Member
Probably having an association with an idea or concept which has all positive qualities and provide stability to rescue from deviant conditions which hampers from having self control helps?

It Should Be Applied to All Level in the Organisation
Bun Chhun, Director, Cambodia, Member
Mood controlling is very important. It would be perfect if everyone could control his or her mood all the time but maybe it's not possible to do it all the time. I agree that we should use this on an organisational level to benefit all within the organisation. Not only the lower level should do this but also the upper and/or the top.

Organizations to Focus on Employees Consciousness
Samuel Thierry, Project Manager, Cameroon, Member
Consciousness and motivation are not only created by an individual, but can also be boosted by a good MANAGER/LEADER with good communication skills and the ability to create or increase consciousness in the individual about the importance of their personal achievements or development.
Leadership perceived as a model by individuals also contributes to improving their self consciousness.
Mood is usually (partly) a consequence of external factors to the individual and can indeed impact an individual's performance. However with good consciousness he will manage to remain focused on his achievements and goals, in other words, he will be able to put his bad mood aside.

Involving Employees in Overall Development of the Organization Resulted in Positive Thinking
Gurdeep Singh, Consultant, India, Member
This self control theory is interesting for organizations that really need a positive outcome from their employees irrespective of their moods. Of course human emotions work a lot for the business growth of an organization but at the same time the employees have to be involved in groups for improvements in their areas.
I worked in a German manufacturing co. where we started a SUGGESTION SCHEME for employees irrespective of their grades and ranks. This created an atmosphere in the organization that created lot of innovative ideas and resulted in positive thinking among the employees.
The organization benefited in many ways over a period of time. The innovative Ideas were respectfully awarded by MD in cash as well as recognition from management, which really generated a positive attitude of the employees, changing the moods even of negative parasites/trouble creators.
This is an example of how management can evolve methods to set aside bad moods within their company and achieve its goals.

What Leads to Positive and Negative Moods
Emmanuel Duru, Analyst, Nigeria, Member
What engenders positive and negative moods is determined by inherent catalysts, instincts and variable factors. For instance: environmental, financial, social, religious, moral and economic factors. These catalysts are inexhaustible.
It is apparent that the face is an index of the mind. Emotional intelligence could be saturated depending on individual disposition as a result of the above factors.

He/She versus the Organization!
Omar Bawajeeh, Saudi Arabia, Member
There is no doubt and it is a fact I experienced that a positive mood/attitude is important to succeed and leads to a higher level of production, both at the personal and organizational level.
An individual can to some extent fight/resist the causes of negative mood in the work environment (organizational level) when the organization opposes his/her positive mood and steals it from him/her.

Observations around Moods of Individuals
Briolett, Manager, Canada, Member
As noted above external factors influence our ability to rise above negative moods. Too many negative factors all at once can be like trying to lift a one ton of weight without help. Staying positive becomes a lot more work and sometimes feels impossible - self awareness and choice are important.
Some further observations:
- People who use a POSITIVE APPROACH to life tend to have better outcomes in adverse situations; they appear to have a deeper inner strength.
- Companies can be BREEDING GROUNDS FOR NEGATIVITY. Some factors include: lack of leadership (caring and knowledge), inability to communicate information effectively, appear to lack honesty, unstable... (fertilizer to negative moods).
- There are people in our world who are INHERENTLY NEGATIVE but within organizations their influence is fueled (or not) by corporate leaders and the true culture of the organization.
- SELF-AWARENESS (indiv / corp) is necessary and should be continuous. You can't fix a problem if you don't see it!

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