The Argument for Leaders NOT to Always Be in a Good Mood 

There are a lot of studies out there on moods. One thing is clear: it’s really easy to affect someone’s state of mind.

Researchers routinely put subjects into a positive mindset by having them recall a pleasant memory, write about something they enjoy, or to watch an uplifting or amusing video. When researchers do the opposite, they can shift people into a negative mood.

What’s important for us to know as leaders is that how we’re feeling affects our judgment. And the idea you should always be in a good mood is a myth — and can lead to some bad decisions.

Here are the three plusses and three risks associated with making a judgment call when you’re being positive.

Of course this doesn’t mean you should be a constant curmudgeon. The negatives for this go well beyond the types of decisions you could make in that state.

It does argue you’re likely overestimating the number of calm, clear-eyed choices you believe you’re making. And that you probably are more susceptible than you think to people who try to put you into a good mood before asking for something.

What this brings us back to is awareness. Take that extra minute to ask why you’re greenlighting something — and be sure it’s not just because you got a good night’s rest. Do the same for that request you want to deny. Is it because this has been a long dreary day and you’re too tired to deal with anything else?

We’re human. We’re influenced by our surroundings and our internal dialogs. When you need to make important choices, spend the time to filter out the static you otherwise wouldn’t notice, which could be influencing you. Beat the odds and make a decision based on its own merit.