Smile and they’ll smile back

Humans are primed to mimic one another. Smile at a stranger while walking down the street and they’ll most likely smile back at you. Studies of the human brain show we have mirror neurons that prompt us to reflect the emotions of others. These are also known as empathy neurons. That’s why we cry during sad movies or feel awkward for a friend who’s just done something embarrassing. We feel what the other person is feeling as if we were experiencing the same things. This may be why Chewbacca Mom has been such a huge Internet sensation.

This also applies to our negative emotions. When we show anger, we predispose others to anger. When we become frustrated, we influence others to also be frustrated. How we deal with our emotions while at work (and home) has a big impact on the type of experience we will have and the experiences of those around us.

While this is important information for everyone on a team, it is invaluable to leaders. Ignoring how your emotions affect your team is done at the detriment of trust, engagement, performance and success.