Management of your team’s emotional dynamic

Management of your team’s emotional dynamic

A group feeling the same emotion as another person is more powerful than one individual. How can leaders control negative emotions and avoid taking over a group? The four strategies of psychology can be used to lower the temperature: situation modification, shifting focus or creating distractions, reappraisal and response modulation.

Now imagine you’re the CEO of large cooperative. A new manager has been criticised by their staff since they took the job a few months back. You are now asked to go to that region and address his behavior. Consider two scenarios. The first scenario is where employees feel angry at their new boss but are not sharing these feelings with one another. The second shows employees who have shared their anger with one another and now share their frustrations as a whole.

Which is more difficult to handle? The second situation is more difficult, as you can see. Although it is not unusual for leaders to be confronted with strong emotions, positive and negative, the risk can be greater in groups than individuals. Researchers who have been studying emotions for many years including myself, began to study the special features of each type of emotion. This phenomenon is called collective emotion. Our research suggests that collective emotion tends to last longer and be more intense than individual emotions.

There are two reasons for this. Emotions are a way for people to communicate with one another. Second, people tend to feel stronger emotions when they get together than if they were ruminating about the topic alone. In cases when there is an increase in the sense that emotion is more than a feeling one person feels but something the whole group experiences, this is particularly true. Strong emotions can be contagious and people may become more affected by an event or situation if they are exposed to them.

Leaders must think about how the interactions of individuals affect the collective emotion. Leaders must learn how to harness the powerful emotions of employees and manage them. Understanding how emotions regulation functions at the group level is key. Important to remember that emotions can often be beneficial to the group. Emotions that may seem unfavorable, like anger or anxiety, can be used to help members vent their frustrations, engage more, and find better solutions. Negative emotions may lead to undesirable behaviors and can even be harmful. It is important to find ways to control collective emotions in these situations.

How to regulate collective emotions

It’s something that we all do. Emotion regulation is the ability to change the course of an emotion response. Emotion regulation can be done in two ways. One is to control our anger at an unfavorable boss, and the other is to regulate our emotions by boosting our enthusiasm for new ideas. Although it’s common to view emotion regulation only as occurring at the first response to an incident or event, such as by quickly bottled up emotions and not expressing them, or pretending to smile, emotions are actually a complex process. This includes attention, cognition and response. Each of these systems can help us regulate our emotions.

This process model, developed by James Gross, a Stanford psychologist, helps leaders to understand the mechanisms behind these systems. This framework explains that emotions and their regulation occur over time. It can be broken down into four steps.

The model provides a framework to understand how people regulate emotions. It has also been used by managers and employees to study how emotion regulation can improve performance and increase satisfaction. We will use this process model to show how leaders can regulate emotion when managing a group. This includes situation modification, shifting focus or creating distractions, reappraisal and response modulation.

Modification of the situation

A leader must address the situation that is eliciting emotion. This will be his first step in implementing emotion regulation strategies. The best solution to the problem is to prevent it from happening. However, in most cases it’s inevitable. Leaders must find ways to change the circumstances to create the desired emotions.

One well-documented situation-modification strategy that can impact collective emotion is rituals. In order to increase or decrease specific emotions, groups create rituals. These are pre-defined actions that have a rigidity, formality and repetition. To reduce anxiety and intimidate their opponent, sports teams create pre-game rituals. High-stress occupations such as law firms and investment banks often have rituals at the end of each week to aid employees in decompressing. McKinsey recognized rituals as a means to support employees during their return to work in the Covid-19 re-entry phase.

Leaders can identify an emotional problem ahead of time and develop rituals that will help to change it.

Distraction or shifting attention

A second set of emotions-regulation strategies focuses on changing emotion by altering where emotional attention is directed.

To change collective emotions, leaders often resort to distraction. Leaders can use distraction to change collective emotion. They focus the attention of their team on one rival, in an attempt to raise a sense or urgency and even outrage. Distraction can be employed to, however. Reduce Certain emotions may be more intense than others. Leaders may choose to divert employees’ attention from their rivals in an effort to manage stress and/or mitigate anxiety.

Steve Jobs tried to distract Apple employees from the rivalry between Microsoft and Apple. This is a great example. Apple’s 1997 return to Apple was accompanied by a great deal of stress from the competition with Microsoft and especially Microsoft Office. Jobs stated that employees were influenced by Microsoft, and they felt jealousy. This hindered their company’s growth. Jobs said this in a 2007 interview during the D5 conference:

[T]Too many Apple employees and others in Apple’s ecosystem were playing the “Microsoft must lose” game. It was obvious that Apple didn’t need to win that game. Apple did not have to defeat Microsoft. Apple needed to recall who Apple is because they had forgotten who Apple is. It was important to end that tradition, according to me.

Bill Gates reached out to Jobs and they tried to make things work. They made peace and signed an agreement that would repair their relationship. It made IE the default browser for Macs, and Microsoft agreed to begin developing Office for Mac. The team was able to focus on their own objectives and not on Microsoft’s.


Reappraisal is the third type of emotion regulation strategy. It involves changing how you think or interpret a situation so that it influences your subsequent emotions.

An excellent example of group reappraisal can be found in stock discussion forums. Many times, investors feel anxious after receiving disappointing earnings reports from a company. The stockholders are usually motivated to soothe the crowd by offering different interpretations to the events to try to control collective emotions. One user may suggest, for example that the disappointed report was the result of an investment that could be profitable and that would later lead to greater profits. This suggestion may gain momentum and become a common thread. This interpretation is more popular as users become more comfortable with it, leading to an increase in anxiety.

Tay is another example, which was created by Microsoft engineers back in March 2016. Tay, a Twitter bot created by Microsoft engineers in March 2016, was introduced on social media under the title “The AI without zero chill”. The goal of the introduction was to show off a new AI tool that uses the most advanced technology. However, Tay became a highly sexualized, racist and misogynistic entity within hours of activation. This was echoing the behavior of users who had intentionally tried to stop it from doing so. After Tay had posted more than 96,000 tweets within 16 hours, Microsoft decided to stop its activities.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, stated that Tay had an enormous influence over how he views the matter and took responsibility. [Microsoft is] Approaching AI.” Note the advanced reappraisal. Tay is not viewed as an failure. Instead, it’s viewed as both a learning opportunity and a pivotal lesson. Nadella also used the same reappraisal approach with her employees. Nadella stated that in 2017 interview with Financial Times, “We dealt with it by making sure the team did not feel guilty for taking this risk…You have to ensure that mistakes are made and that you can learn from them.” Nadella sees the incident as a learning opportunity. This subtle, but powerful reappraisal technique can shift minds and decrease strong emotions.

Modulation of response.

Response modulation is the last of these emotion-regulation strategies. It involves controlling one’s emotional outward expression to influence others’ emotions.

The visual cliff is one of the most well-known experiments in development psychology. A child is required to crawl on a glass floor that looks like it’s going up. On the other side, the child’s caregiver is there. The caretaker’s facial expression plays an important role in helping children overcome fear and anxiety.

Managers aren’t babies and employees don’t caretakers, but even adults can have an innate tendency to see the emotions of others to determine what they should be feeling. If a leader is able to maintain positive emotions when faced with a difficult situation, it can influence their group’s overall emotion. However, these emotions must be genuine. Steve Ballmer (the former CEO of Microsoft, and owner of the LA Clippers) is well-known for his passionate expressions of passion and enthusiasm that have been known to be infectious within the companies he oversees. Leader anxiety and anger, on the other hand can have a dramatic impact on the group’s emotions.

However, it is worth noting that response modulation, which suppresses one’s emotions, may not work well for regulating a large group of people over long periods. Research has shown that suppressing emotions does not make them feel better. stronger emotions. Leaders who try to suppress their emotions to control their teams are more likely to show those emotions through behavior, tone or reactions to other people. People are good at picking up emotions even if they’re well concealed. While it may be possible to temporarily suppress emotions, this is unlikely to work long-term.

. . .

What strategy works best to manage the emotions and collective behavior of a team leader? Each strategy is different and each has advantages and disadvantages. This depends on what situation you are in. While managing fear through composure may work in the short-term, it can lead to a loss of control and a breakdown when leaders reveal their emotions. An organizational reappraisal may change the way people recall the event. However, employees might prefer to see the negative side of things. This could lead to increased emotions. A leader might frame the setback of a company as necessary for healthy growth. However, employees could not believe him and may decide to create a story that suggests that it is in danger. Collective emotion regulation is possible only if there’s a way to reappraise the company that everyone can believe in.

Multiple strategies can sometimes be the best option. One example is that the CEO sent by the company to decrease employee anger may be able to do several things simultaneously. You can highlight the positive aspects of the situation such as the fact that they were able to travel directly to the area and listen to the employees. If it is true and appropriate, they can offer an alternate narrative. For example, explaining to employees that the regional manager is still learning. You might point out a positive side to the company or offer a way for employees to vent their anger on a daily basis.

Leaders must have the ability to assess the emotional state of their teams and identify its unique characteristics in order to determine the best strategy to impact the collective emotions.

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