What mood do leaders need to lean into to get the results we want?
I’ve been thinking about this question lately, after a great family summer trip that involved several different tours—and tour guides. We were a group that ranged widely in age, from children to more elderly family members, so we weren’t always easy to please. After a day’s activities, we visitors would talk about our tour leaders—the good, the bad, and the just okay. Who inspired us, and who left us cold?
Like tour guides, leaders at work are challenged to inspire and create an environment of learning and growth among a group of people with differing styles and personalities.
One thing that was clear about our preferred tour guides was that the mood we sensed from them really set the tone for our experience. If a guide acted a little crabby, we were put off. Even if they shared good information, it was hard to get as excited about what we were learning when someone seemed unhappy. If, on the other hand, our tour guide was in a good humor, openly welcoming our questions and interest, we were ready to hear what they’d tell us next, and forgiving of any of their lapses or errors. These guides inspired us, creating an environment of learning in which we could grow.
As leaders, we might consider that our mood can set the tone for a meeting, a day, or a project. We can choose to lean into the mood that we think is most likely to create an environment of possibilities and inspiration.