Are your moods holding you back as an HR leader?

Managing our emotions to better serve others a sign of emotional intelligence, says leadership expert

Are your moods holding you back as an HR leader?

We all strive to be the best version of ourselves. It is what we are taught to do. Invariably, however, we have flaws in our personality make-up that can hold us back from achieving our potential. Some of it stems from upbringing, our education and our treatment from others. But other aspects are inherited in our DNA, which affects our moods.

“Our moods can hold us back from being a better leader,” Bernard Desmidt, leadership specialist and author of Team Better Together, said. “We are biologically inescapable emotional beings. As humans we are never not in mood. Moods are predispositions for action – everything we say or do is because of the mood we’re in. Moods serve us until they don’t, so rather than labelling them ‘negative or positive’, moods are signposts that guide us to take care of what is important to us. A mood of frustration is a signpost to take care of not feeling heard or understood.”

Control your mood, don’t let it control you

Of course, being in a bad mood in an office environment can have severe negative consequences if one person lashes out with inappropriate behaviour. If you are a team leader, it does not set a good example to your colleagues.

“Whilst we can’t control our moods, we can manage our moods,” Desmidt said. “Life puts us in a mood – we move through moods of irritation, curiosity, anxiety, resignation, and acceptance as part of the natural and normal course of a day. Rather than to allow moods to control us, we can manage and shift our moods to better serve us. To do so requires we be better observers of our moods and to ask: what mood am I in? How does this mood serve me? What mood would better serve me?”

Being able to adjust workplace behaviour can go a long way to changing the general atmosphere in an office. If you are a leader and walk into a meeting with your peers you can quickly see the atmosphere change to one of fear and negativity, however, if you can control your mood you can foster positivity and happiness. This goes a long way to helping colleagues feel good about themselves and their jobs.

“Moods manifest from the assessments we hold of and about ourselves and others,” Desmidt added. “Our assessments are the signals and warning of the moods that manifest. To shift our moods to better serve us, we first need to change our assessments to better serve us.”

Becoming a better leader

In order to become a better leader, you need to control your moods. This is easier said than done. Sometimes you need to internalise thoughts and feelings until you better understand them and are able to rationalise another person’s behaviour. After all, you may not know what is on their agenda.

“To be emotionally intelligent means to be mood aware,” Desmidt said. “A leader’s ability to develop greater mood literacy and awareness, is fundamental to leading with greater fulfilment and impact. Moods are the most contagious phenomenon known to humankind. One of the most distinguishing attributes of a leader, is their ability to shift their mood to better serve others.”

The role of HR

Human resources has a big role to play in helping train business leaders. Whether it is structured courses, a sounding board or a planned development strategy that can be practically implemented, the role of human resources is fundamental to the success of a business producing better leaders.

“Human resources has an integral role in developing greater awareness of how fundamental moods are to both leaders and others way of being,” Desmidt said. “Only by developing greater appreciation of the moods of life, are we able to help leaders build their capacity to manage their own moods but most important shift the organisational moods to best serve all. Leaders that create an environment where innovation, collaboration and change happens, do so through facilitating the moods of curiosity, acceptance and ambition, not frustration, resignation or fear.”

How to train better leaders

 Desmidt believes there are three fundamental facets of being a leader which training needs to focus on.

“The why, how and what of leadership are very important,” he said. “For leaders to become more of their best and live and lead with greater fulfilment and impact, requires they learn more about these three fundamentals. Firstly, you have the ‘why’ which to know what value and difference they make. To be purpose focused and know the cause they serve greater than themselves. Secondly, you have the ‘how’ which is how will others experience them? How will they show up and deal with difficult situations and have the capacity and courage to be vulnerable and discuss the undiscussables.

“Thirdly, you have the ‘what’ which is what great work are they required to achieve working with and through others. How to better coordinate action and secure greater cooperation and commitments from others to get done what’s most important.”

Controlling your moods can help shape you to be a better leader.

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