Project management is not just about creating Gantt charts, making budgets, defining scope and tracking costs. It’s also about collaborating, teamwork, influencing and building a team that generates optimal results, all in a very complex environment. Mounting pressure, deadlines and budget constraints can take a serious toll on anyone and result in increasingly frustrated, irritable employees. Negative feelings and negative moods penetrate the entire work environment that can easily ruin your project with drastic consequences.
Moods are the frame of mind that can either be positive or negative. Most humans are often influenced by emotions that have a strong bearing on our moods. Positive emotions lead to good mood while negative emotions results in bad mood. When we are in good mood, it leads to improvement of our performance.
According to project management technology research company Software Advice, in a recent online survey carried out by Dr. Noel Radley, around 75% of employees are negatively influenced by bad moods in the workplace. One third (34%) of respondents have witnessed or regularly witness negative emotions from co-workers, a solid majority (73%) have even noticed their manager show negative emotions in varying degrees of frequency, and almost a third (27%) have recognized that bad mood has an impact on their productivity. For more information and charts summarizing the online survey please click here.
Negative moods can impact the outcome of projectsin various ways:
- Results in Diminished Productivity. There is a strong correlation between moods and productivity. Bad moods and negative sentiments of the individual employees greatly reduce productivity of the team. Teamwork and collaboration is essential in completion of any project.Bad moods prevent employees from collaborating with each other,negatively impacting the productivity of the project teammembers.
- Decreases Employee Morale and Motivation. Emotions play an important part in influencing human thoughts and actions. If the employees feel good, it works wonders in improving their morale and motivation. Negative moods on the other hand decrease employee morale which affects their ability to make correct decisions regarding the project.
- Drive up Project Costs. Negative mood is contagiousand affects every group member. If the source of the problem is not resolved, it may cause a number of problems, chief among them being an increase in cost of the project. Bad moods among the team members results in project delays and other complications that drives up cost of the project which can easily ruintheproject.
- Impacts Success of the Project. Another negative impact of bad moods is that it prevents successful completion of the project. It has the potential to stop the project completely unless immediate steps are taken to resolve the source of the negative sentiments among the employees.
Having realized the consequence of negative moods on project management, it is important that the mood of the team remains positive otherwise it will badly influence performance. While most believe in personal accountability and responsibility in dealing with bad moods,most of the project management gurusalso believe that project managers have a large part to play in managing group emotions. Here are 4effective tips that can help project managersinensuring that the mood of the team remains positivewhich results in a positive outcome of the project.
1- Be Attentive to Angry Sentiments among the Team. Project managers should be attentive to angry sentiments among the team members.Angry behavior of the employees indicates a problem in the workplace. Although some employees are predisposed to negative emotions, if angry behavior is shown by employees who are normally in a good mood, it may indicate a serious problem within the work environment. It is essential that mangers remain cognizant of the situational context of the angry outbursts and take steps to stem the source of negative emotions within the workplace environment.
2- Track Emotions of the Employees. Another way to prevent mood of employees from ruining projects is to regularly track their emotions. A number of software are available that allows you to track average emotions of the employees. For instance, there are project management tools that allow team members to input their real time mood while working on a project. The software then calculates average mood of the employees who are working on a particular project. Project managers can also track the moods of the employees manually. The tool allows management to measure the group’s mood by taking an average of member’s positive and negative moods. However, a negative aspect of this tool is that it is fairly complex way to track the team moods that consumes a lot of time.
3- Improve EQ Emotional Intelligence of the Employees. Another effective way to maintain positive moods within the team is to devise programs to develop their EQ or Emotional Intelligence. The term was first coined by Daniel Goleman in his book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. The author claims that people who are high in EQ are better able to handle their emotions and avoid pessimism. Project managers can create seminars and workshops to train employees in improving their emotional intelligence. Emotional Intelligence Consortium website has a number of resources to help mangers devise an effective training program to develop emotional skills of employees.
4- Conduct Regular Meetings with Employees. Regular one-to-one conversations with employees will help in determining issues that affect the morale of the employees. Having emphatic and sensitive conversations with the employees individually will enable the management to know about the problems that are creating negative sentiments among the team members. It will also assist the management in coming up with affective solutions to resolve the problem.
Do you agree that the above factors can help project managers in ensuring that the mood of the team remains positive? Do you know about other factors that can lead to improved moods of the employees in a workplace environment? You are welcome to leave your comments below regarding the impacts of negative emotions within the workplace and how to effectively deal with the problem.