Bad Leaders Are Contagious

There is much talk about great leaders being able to positively affect an organisation through decreasing turnover of staff, increasing sales…the list goes on and on. But what happens when you have an ineffective leader; does the opposite apply? The answer is quite adamantly, yes.

An ineffective leader has a similar impact on an organisation by spreading their negativity throughout. Even if a team senses that their leader is negative and intentionally tries not to mirror their mood, they unconsciously start to adopt certain practices and the atmosphere changes as a result. And once the harm is done, even after removal of the negative leader, it can be hard to reverse it.

We all like to think that we aren’t necessarily influenced by our boss or our leader, but studies show this is not the case. Whether you like it or not, emotions are contagious, for better or worse.

Our brains are made up of many billions of minute working parts, and neurons inside our brains make us react and mimic the feelings and emotions of others. Termed appropriately as mirror neurons, those negative feelings are being picked up by others automatically through their brain. They are automatically processing others’ outward emotions even before they realise it.

On a positive note, this is great news for leaders struggling to understand whether they actually make a difference to the team they lead. If you are showcasing good habits and a positive attitude, then your staff will follow suit. But the same applies to your poor habits; they too will be mimicked by others.

Happiness being contagious seems to be common knowledge. If you come to work and see someone smiling then, chances are you will respond in kind. If you visit a friend who is happy, then you will leave feeling happier from the visit. You only need to do a quick “happy” test to see the results for yourself. Smile at the next person that you come in contact with and see how quickly it takes for them to smile back. Watch their expression change. A little bit of happiness can definitely go a long way.

A leader with a bad attitude operates very much in the same way. The negativity can be a likened to a virus and can spread quickly through an organisation. The overall work environment and morale of the team as a whole can be affected with catastrophic results. One bad apple can, in reality, can spoil the whole barrel.

The obvious solution, then, is to bring your best leadership attitude with you.

Taking the time to stay results focused and developing a positive vision will take you and your organisation far. Opt for positive self-talk on a daily basis and project the best mental picture you want your team to mirror. When selecting the team members you wish to work with, choose people who take a positive approach and don’t rant with negative emotions every time something goes wrong. People will notice and take the same approach to their daily set of tasks.

Your reach or your influence is greater than you think therefore always represent yourself in the best light possible and always act like someone is watching. Because they probably are!  If you are awesome, the chances are you team will be too.

Remember, your leadership attitude is the single most important thing that keeps your team working well. If you think you or the leaders in your organisation need some help to manage their emotions, and to express their best leadership selves, talk to us about any of our programs that can help you and your team develop leadership attitude. Leadership Attitude has the power to transform your leaders and spread the contagion of positivity right through your business. Get in touch today to find out more.

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616


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