Why mood matters

A leaders' attitude is highly contagious, so you'll need to lift yourself in order to lift others. David Bolchover reports.

It's Monday, winter is rapidly approaching and the radio is buzzing with the latest story of recession, redundancy and bankruptcy. As workers throughout the country cram into trains and buses, or sit in interminable traffic jams on drab motorways, the national mood seems to be verging on the black. Or even the Black Dog.

That all sounds very depressing, but what have people's moods got to do with the world of management and business? At such a difficult time, shouldn't we be more concerned with the nitty-gritty of turning the economy around, rather than with the touchy-feely stuff that we all got hooked on in the boom years because we had money to burn? It appears not. Mood is crucial. It was crucial in the boom, and it is crucial in the bust, perhaps even more so.

Organisational psychologists have been paying increasing attention to the commercial significance of mood over the past couple of decades. In the industrial era, we relied on machines functioning to their optimum capacity. Now, in a knowledge economy sustained by ideas, the machines that matter are our brains, and they are a little more complex than their factory counterparts.

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