Managing Others – The Secret Weapon: Emotions

HappyTeamDon’t fall prey to the notion that people get paid to perform. People get paid to show up and do work. How well they do that work is largely related to how they feel. It’s true: emotions do play a huge role in performance.

Getting More Out of Team Members

Productive legal managers embrace this fact and use it to achieve the team’s common objectives. There are a number of behaviors managers can exhibit that will enhance our team’s performance.

  • Attitude is Contagious. Lots of things go wrong; many them are not of our making. We have two choices whenever something goes wrong. We can attack it with vigor or complain about it. A report in the Journal of Applied Psychology offered evidence that a manager’s attitude is infectious. If the manager addresses a situation with a positive attitude, the team rises to the occasion more successfully. Similarly, if the manager is negative, that negativity spreads like wildfire through the team. Thus, choosing a positive attitude when dealing with problems—attacking them with vigor—has positive upsides and no downsides.
  • Mirror Others. We are “mirroring” when we align our behaviors to those around us. For example we speaking quickly if they speak quickly. Or we quiet down a bit if someone is quieter by nature. We all feel more comfortable with those who are like us! Use mirroring to create a collaborative environment when working with others.
  • Use Humor. Finding humor throughout the day is a terrific way to bond with others. Laughter is often called the elixir of society, and for good reason. Our brains release the feel-good chemical dopamine into our systems every time we laugh!
    Stay Calm. We all want leaders to appear calm. It makes us feel safer. Even if we’re feeling chaotic inside, exhibiting a calm demeanor to our team will help them remain focused and productive.
  • Go Green. Consider going outside, especially to someplace green (like a park), when things are frantic. Even a short stroll in nature can calm us down and get us focused again. Maybe the entire team could brainstorm solutions while walking outside together?

How People Feel Determines How Hard They Try

Identifying the personalities on our teams helps us guide each individual to a successful working attitude. We can also improve performance by adopting some specific behaviors that help us and our people get the work done well.

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