Leadership and motivation is based on emotion. In an interaction, whether it is one on one, or in a group, whoever displays the strongest emotion is leading the interaction at that point in time and influences the emotion and motivation of all the other people involved.
Therefore, in a two person interaction, if one person is showing deep sadness and the other person is moderately joyful, the sad person will have greater influence over the interaction at least in the beginning and will bring the emotion of the joyful person down towards sadness. Now this is not necessarily a bad thing if the joyful person understands that he or she can still positively influence the emotions and motivation of the other person.
By coming down to that person’s emotion, the joyful person has a better opportunity to understand and empathize with that person’s emotion. As a result of this, the sad person may begin to feel better and as the sad person begins to feel better the joyful person may then begin to take the lead and bring the emotion and motivation of the sad person up towards a more positive feeling.
Humans are social creatures and the more positive our social interactions the better we feel. In our brain we have what neuroscientists call mirror neurons, and basically what they are there to do is help us tune into and copy the emotion of someone else so we can better understand them. As we do that, we loop with each other’s emotion and the emotion builds in intensity. We also often then speak of similar ideas and concepts.
People often unconsciously reduce the intensity of their positive emotion and motivation in order to attune with the negative emotions of someone who has a higher status. However, it is not your status but the strength of the emotion you choose to generate that will determine your own moods and how you influence others.
Even if have a supervisor who is often angry or stressed, it does not have to influence your mood. In an interaction with him or her, if you displayed an even stronger level of calm or excitement for example, you would be likely to influence them and reduce the intensity of their emotion even though they have the higher status.
Unfortunately though, this is rare, as most people unconsciously attune to the emotion and motivational states of the person with the higher status, rather than deciding to empathize with the person if it is possible and then lead them to a more positive emotion. At any point in an interaction, you are either leading or being led. If you are being led, make sure it is towards an emotional place you are willing to go.
To your Success and Fulfilling Happiness,