The Destructive Effect of Negative Emotions in the Workplace

The Destructive Effect of Negative Emotions in the Workplace

In the article “Emotional Contagion Can Take Down Your Whole Team,” Tony Schwartz, president and CEO of The Energy Project and the author of Be Excellent at Anything, describes how negativity begins in an office setting by one person talking and passing negative emotions from one to the other, and how negative emotions in this setting have destructive effect.

Emotional contagion takes hold and as the negativity spreads, it drains the energy from the team and the company as a whole.  The negative emotions temporarily overwhelm the capacity to assess the facts at hand. 

“How much do emotions matter in the workplace?  Walk into any Department of Motor Vehicles and you’ll feel the impact of the prevailing mood instantly — a dense fog of sourness, irritability, and listlessness. Walk into almost any Apple store and you’ll experience the opposite — a sense of aliveness and excitement that raises your energy.”

Schwartz tells a story of his personal experience with a senior executive, and lists some points that he had learned from the experience in the article.

Image: "Gossip Walk" by Ktoine.

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