Emotional Displays with Purpose | Dr. Will Ramey

Emotional Displays with Purpose | Dr. Will Ramey

Emotional Displays with Purpose | Dr. Will Ramey 800 600 OnTheStacks
Impact of Emotional Displays
Research Backed Approaches to Leadership and Team Dynamics with Dr. Will Ramey, The Leadership Dr.

Have you ever thought about how your emotional displays impact your team’s behavior? Well, it turns out that your emotions play a significant role in your followers’ organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). We share how to put your emotional intelligence into action and impact your team’s willingness to take on tasks outside of their job description.

Your Team is Watching

About seven years ago I finally came to a realization. I always knew and learned that how you behave as a leader matters. It makes a difference in your day. Fundamentally I understood that when you hold a formal leadership position in an organization, you have an inherent responsibility to model positive behavior. We all understand that, comprehend it, but what does it look like, how can you practice it, and put your emotional displays to work. Early in my leadership journey I would wear my emotions on my sleeve. All of the positive emotion and negative emotion would come out and be on display. I’d go home exhausted. The amount of pivots in my day, the ups and downs wore on me. Gaining an understanding of how my emotional displays, both positive and negative, impacted my team opened my eyes. Learning to harness my emotions and engage my emotional intelligence, has helped me, as well as, my team become more effective and go above and beyond.

What is OCB?

If you’re not familiar with the term, organizational citizenship behavior, or OCB, refers to the discretionary actions that employees take to improve the overall effectiveness of their workplace. These actions mean going beyond what is expected from the job description and can include things like helping coworkers, volunteering for tasks, and offering constructive feedback. These behaviors lead to positive team dynamics and can impact team effectiveness and performance over time.

A study published in The Leadership Quarterly found that when leaders express positive emotions, such as joy or pride, their followers are more likely to engage in OCB. On the other hand, negative emotions like anger or frustration can decrease OCB. The findings also suggest that the level of emotional contagion (i.e., the degree to which followers “catch” their leader’s emotions) effects the relationship between leaders’ emotional displays and followers’ OCB.

Link between Leader’s emotions and OCB

  • Leaders’ emotional displays have a significant impact on their followers’ organizational citizenship behavior.
  • Positive emotions expressed by leaders have a more significant impact on followers’ OCB than negative emotions.
  • Emotional contagion mediates the relationship between leaders’ emotional displays and followers’ OCB.

We often underestimate the power of emotions and how they can shape our team’s behavior. As leaders, we need to be more self-aware of how our emotions can impact our team. By expressing more positive emotions, being mindful of negative emotions, and leading by example, we can create a more positive and productive work environment for our team.

Displaying Positive Emotions

What can you do to be more purposeful and display positive emotions as a leader?

Here are some tips:

  1. Express positive emotions: As a leader, you set the tone for your team’s emotions. So, when you’re feeling happy or proud, share that with your team! Celebrate successes and show gratitude for hard work. This will encourage your team to engage in positive behaviors.
  2. Be mindful of negative emotions: Of course, as a leader, you’re not going to be happy all the time. But when you’re feeling angry or frustrated, try to be mindful of how you’re expressing those emotions. Instead of lashing out, take a deep breath and consider how you can express your emotions in a constructive way.
  3. Lead by example: Finally, remember that your team is looking to you for guidance. If you want your team to engage in positive behaviors, you need to lead by example. Show your team what it means to be a positive, productive member of the organization.
  4. Practice Mindfulness: To find out how and the benefits to you and your team read my article: How Mindfulness Helps You Lead | Dr. Will Ramey | OnTheStacks

Like it or not, as a leader, your emotions play a crucial role in shaping your team’s behavior. By expressing positive emotions, being mindful of negative emotions, and leading by example, you can encourage your team to engage in positive organizational citizenship behavior. So, let’s spread positivity and make our organizations even better!

Reference: “How leaders’ emotional displays shape followers’ organizational citizenship behavior” by Lukas F. Koning and Gerben A. Van Kleef published in The Leadership Quarterly 2015

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