If you’ve ever sent or received a text or an email, then you understand the effects that the perceived tone can have on how the message is received. The same is true for the content of the things we say. How you project your tone in and around your business is very telling.
A quote in Psychology Today says it all, “Our tone tells the truth even when our words don’t.”
Business owners, executives, managers – any employee in a leadership position – are the driving forces of more than business operations on a daily basis. They are driving the climate of the organization. The actions and behavior of a leader creates the environment and mood of the business, which in turn affects productivity and levels of engagement. How much does this matter?
In a Harvard Business Review article called Leadership That Gets Results, Daniel Goleman cites research which shows that up to 30% of a company’s financial results (as measured by key business performance indicators such as revenue growth, return on sales, efficiency and profitability) are determined by the climate of the organization.
30%! If you don’t read another word of this article, then understand that your face, attitude, and mood could be responsible for the repercussions or rewards that you are getting from your employees, customers, and suppliers. The effects can have either negative or positive impact on your business’ overall reputation, competition, productivity, job satisfaction, and even employee behaviors and workplace ethics.
From an employee standpoint, a leader’s mood can oxygenate or suffocate the attitude of employees.
Think about the number of times you’ve gone home upbeat, reliving a positive encounter with a supportive and optimistic boss. Remember how great it made you feel and how eager you were to get out of bed the next workday, to give the best that you had to offer. This renewed energy to be more productive and to bring your best self to work.
On the flip side, the reverse of the “after-glow” from a positive experience can be the “aftermath.” This experience is one that lingers with you after being the recipient of foul remarks from a leader in a negative mood. How that affects your determination to overcome difficulties in a project, to keep fully engaged in a process, and to want to give that person and customers your best game and support…it leaves a bitter aftertaste as an employee, and a lull in your productivity and motivation.
This doesn’t dictate that the tone at the top needs to be unrealistically euphoric. Of course, if your margins and sales are tanking, or the business is going through hard times, leaders need to display appropriate behaviors to match the situation at hand – but with a healthy dose of optimism mixed in. The point, is to be a model of what it looks like to move forward with hope, and to manage the emotions of change so that your organization stays engaged.
KCoe People is a human resources consulting arm of K·Coe Isom and works with businesses to effect positive changes in culture through leadership training, performance management, and employee retention methods. Contact our HR experts for more information.