If I ask how you feel, what would you give in a response? Great? OK? Or Shut the f… up? The mood of humans is a powerful asset. If you are in a great mood, stuff seams to go your way, you are more effective and stuff is more fun. Bad mood is on the other hand a dangerous weapon; it is like an aggressive virus raging the environment just around you, bringing everybody down. If you as I work in an open office landscape with 30 plus employees you know what I am talking about. We are provided daily with weather reports, if you live in Norway or Scotland you know that the weather change fast. The mood around the office can also change from blue sky to thunderstorms in minutes. I have seen this happen many times. One person shows up at work in a mood that could cause traffic accidents by proxy. During the day you can tell that the mood is flooring and you could just as well turn of the lights to save electricity, it is the same darkness.
It can be prevented.
First of all make room for fun. Invest in toys. A Nintendo Wii does not cost much, and a tennis tournament can create wonders. Arrange small contest once in a while. SMILE! If you are in a bad mood, chances are you’ll bring down the staff within minutes.
Green means walk.
One thing I like to do is walk around the office looking at the body language and rates all my employees by the traffic light model. If someone looks tired and grey, they might be yellow, if you see someone with a dark cloud around their head, and they might even sound aggressive when talking to customers, they are red. And we also have someone that laughs all the time and they might have spent time around the coffee machine before work, cracking jokes and stories. Sure green. When I have identified the red ones, I’ll bring them a cup of coffee or send them an e-mail or talk to them one on one. They soon move to yellow or green. When the red change to green, I do the same with the yellow ones. One tip from experience: Do not ever say to them what color they are! “You seem a little yellow today; do you want a cup of coffee?” – I did that once, he said to me later that he felt green, and it did annoy him straight in to red… Well, learn by mistakes and move on.
Look at my stuff.
I once observed another manager at my company walking around the office talking to some employees. I noticed that she commented on figures they had on the desk, pictures and even flowers, their own personal trophies for display. I was fascinating by the glow on the employees, so later in my office I asked her about this event, if it was calculated? She replied, yes, I do care about them and I know people love to talk about their trophies, there is a reason why they put a kinder egg figure on the top of their screen or there might even be a story behind a small cactus. People love to tell their story, show off their kids or explain the internal humor of the blue Donald Duck figure. When people talk about this their energy level skyrockets and they become happy because someone shows that they have the time to talk about them. Humans are social and talk is a social tool. Use it.
If you do this regularly you will see that the dark clouds will disappear from you work space.
In case of emergency!
Buy candy! Or just find the core of your employees and invite them into a small gathering where you just have fun. And then you tell them about the current mood, and that they have to focus on getting it back up. If you have a core group with influence on others, amuse them, and get them to amuse the rest. It works every time.
What do you do to keep the mood in green at your job? Please do share good ideas by commenting. I would love to hear how you deal with this?