“To be playful is not to be trivial or frivolous, or to act as though nothing of consequence will happen. On the contrary, when we are playful with each other we relate as free persons, and the relationship is open to surprise; everything that happens is of consequence. It is, in fact, seriousness that closes itself to consequence, for seriousness is a dread of the unpredictable outcome of open possibility. To be serious is to press for a specified conclusion. To be playful is to allow for possibility whatever the cost to oneself” James B Carse (Finite and Infinite Games)
We have all seen and met people who in their organizations operate like they would operate in a war zone. There is pressure, stress, and constant anxiety at work. This is the unceasing and relentless mood within the senior staff of several organizations. At the Institute for Generative Leadership, we state that one of the key responsibilities of the leader is to manage and cause the mood within the organization. Whether you, as a leader, know it or not, accept it or reject it, you are causing the mood within the organization. Skilled leaders effectively blend with the emotions of the other person and subtly cause the other person to change their emotion.
Any mood or emotion pre-disposes you to certain action and may not be the ‘right’ mood for creating a high performance team. For example, if the employees of your organization are in the mood of resentment, then chances are the sub conscious conversation they have is “I assess that you are responsible for closing possibilities for me / my team and I am committed to not having a conversation with you about this.” Similarly, if the employees of your organization are in the mood of resignation, then the sub conscious conversation they may have is, “I assess that nothing is going to get better here; it has always been and it will always be this way; and there is nothing I can do about it.”
Both these above moods pre-dispose them not to have a conversation with you as the leader of the organization / team and also not remain committed to your requests, promises or deadlines.
The interesting thing about Moods is that these are contagious. If you have an excited employee around you, s/he spreads excitement and energy around them. Similarly, if you have someone who is resigned and disempowered, s/he will bring others down with him/her. One of my coachees, working as a Chief General Manager in a leading bank in India stated, “I have noticed that when I am in a good mood, my family and entire staff in the office are in a good mood. Similarly, when I am angry and preoccupied, I somehow create this uneasy tension which I have come to realize is counter productive for my organization (and my family).”
Begin by becoming aware of your mood in different environments, such as, home, office, with friends, etc. Now notice if this mood serves you and the people around you. If not, this awareness of your mood will bring forth with it a choice of whether or not you want to continue being in this mood.
I will leave it for you to decide whether or not you want to continue in this mood or choose to change it.
Sameer Dua, Founder Director, Institute for Generative Leadership, India
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