A Bad Mood at Work could Create Problems

When you don’t manage your life well, you become angry and frustrated as things don’t go as intended, and our bad mood is a sign showing we were not able to resolve the conflict.”- Jorge Bucay

Sometimes just the thought of going in to work can put one in a bad mood! It sounds funny but the truth is whatever mood you start your day, will set the ‘tone’ and ‘tempo’ for the rest of the day. Carrying a frown and sullen demeanour does not only bring you down but can affect those you work with too. A bad mood at work dampens the spirit leading to low output and careless behaviour which in turn could get you into trouble with the boss, which will ultimately have you carrying the bad mood back home – a complete vicious cycle.

Keeping a bad mood at work is not just unpleasant it also means that as a professional you are negating your responsibility of contributing to your own personal growth and also that of the company and co-workers.  It is easy to blame a bad mood at work on the boss (the hot favourite for this), annoying co-workers, equipment that doesn’t work and other such external reasons but the fact remains that ultimately it is you who will suffer the consequences and find yourself feeling depressed, stressed, lethargic and unable to perform your job responsibilities to the optimum. The external factors will always be there – it is a person’s choice to react to them in a way that will ensure an upbeat demeanour or at least remain unaffected by the factors – after all one’s happiness is one’s own personal responsibility and blaming others and adding to the workplace stress cannot be good or acceptable.

Conversely remaining positive and cheerful, though not easy at all times in the workplace can significantly enhance your productivity, mood and relationships within the office. A bad mood at work if left unchecked could lead to angry outbursts, pounding fists and the speaking of words that one might regret or even face serious consequences for. In addition, a bad mood at work is like a virus and tends to spread very quickly creating an unpleasant and stressful environment for a number of people. The worst consequence of having a bad mood at work is that people judge and label a person based on the one angry incident and continue to carry that impression irrespective of the efforts made at ‘recovery’.  Unfortunate but true is that this one incident will probably be talked about more often than any other good a person may have done, giving rise to hurtful and vicious rumours which in turn damage the overall work environment. Doesn’t seem worth it, right?

A bad mood at work, works for no one. The outbursts or sullen behaviour can take on an even more catastrophic nature if you are someone in authority – someone who is a highly conspicuous job role and responsible for a large team. The team and other employees learn from such examples and begin to believe that if the leader can, they too can behave in a similar manner. This then becomes ‘contagious’ and people begin to interact with each other in a less than complimentary manner. Such a tense and stressed out work environment is not congenial for any productive work leading to a drop in output, lowered customer service levels, high staff attrition and a stop on creative and innovative ideas. It is human nature to mirror the person they interact with – try it. Smile and the person in front of you will smile – frown and be sure to be frowned at.

The truth is before a company’s management can react or act to stop the spread of the bad mood at work ‘virus’ it would have already caused substantial damage. The unfortunate part is that spreading negativity and bringing people’s mood down have not found a place in the not to do list and do not often affect a person’s performance appraisal. For these to be ‘punishable’ the company’s leaders and management would need to lead by example since they cannot expect people to behave differently from them. Those who are overwhelmed by such a work environment will soon leave and some of them could be the company’s top performers.

The ability to manage emotions, especially to contain bad mood at work is the responsibility and duty of every person. The leaders and managers must have developed the skill to keep emotions out of their work and lead their teams to behave in a similar fashion. When we say emotions, we are speaking solely about negative and malicious ones. Expressing positive emotions can actually lighten the work environment and spread happiness and an upbeat mood. Happy employees put in extra effort, are satisfied in their place of work, are able to cooperate and work cohesively with their team mates and this raises the performance of the company as a whole. The business environment is stressed and chaotic as it is – what with the emergence of new companies, new products, ‘fast and furious’ technological changes and customer demands that change faster than companies can manage to keep pace with – the least that employees and their leaders are expected to do is to keep away bad mood at work.

We discussed previously that when people are angry or in a not so congenial mood, they tend to react to situations rather than respond to them. The incorrect reactions often lead to further annoyance, fear of failure or rebuke and other kinds of apprehensions that snowball into an even larger and more furious display of the negativity. As we said, these external circumstances and seemingly annoying people will not go away, so it’s best that each person understands and takes responsibility to keep away the bad mood at work (which will keep you happier at home too).

One spends a very large number of hours at the workplace and hence it makes sense to remain in control of oneself in order to keep away the bad mood at work. Companies must actively promote a healthy and happy work environment – special events, training programs, interactive learning sessions, employee engagement activities and other such programs that will enhance positivity and remove opportunities for employees to have a bad mood at work. It must become a culture that is regularly enforced that disallows angry outbursts and other behaviours that spread negativity in the workplace and alienates people and takes away from the good repute and credibility of the company and its management.

It would be easy for some to say that it is not their concern since they do not indulge in such behaviour.  On the contrary – it is everyone’s duty to ensure that negativity and bad mood at work is not tolerated or supported in any way. The major trait of behaviour is that it becomes stronger and a habit when given importance – like a muscle that becomes stronger the more it is used. There have been many examples listed by friends and associates working in offices, of bad mood at work making a much larger impact than was thought possible and ruining the effort that some others were putting into their jobs. One bad mood at work has the ability to quickly become a ‘tidal wave’ of bad moods – have you experienced this in your company? What did you do about it?

It is human nature to have a different set of moods – this is a given and is therefore inevitable even in the work environment. However, to carry a bad mood at work or become cranky and unreasonable, because of something that happened, in a manner that negatively affects others should not be acceptable. It is up to each person in the company to learn how to deal with crisis, tough situations and tough people. Keeping a bad mood at work is certainly not the solution.

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