Through their confidence in their teams, leaders can set an emotional tone and shape expectations that produce initial wins. Winning puts people in a good mood. Then emotional contagion kicks in to spread the mood and reinforce positive expectations; i.e. winning begets winning.
Moods are catching, especially among people who know they depend on one another. Moods spread from person to person in surprisingly subtle ways, yet they have a big influence. The synchronizing of sad or happy tones of voice, for example, is often unconscious as though the human brain is hard-wired to get in tune with other people because being out of tune is jarring and makes people feel isolated.
Good moods are both causes and effects. Winning puts people in a good mood, and being in a good mood makes it easier to win. The contagion of good emotions can help improve cooperation and decrease conflict. In the midst of winning cycles, people naturally gravitate toward behaving in ways that support confidence:
Accountability – Sharing information and taking responsibility; seeking feedback and self-improvement.
Collaboration – People want to work together; interpersonal bonds are high, and people are willing to help each other.
Initiative – People feel what they do matters; they believe they can make a difference in outcomes, and expectations of success produce the energy to keep going under pressure.
Investments in people are much easier to make and justify when teams and organizations are already winning. Winners gain advantages because the whole context is richer. Top talents want to join winning teams. They get more access to top networks (more access to influence and information), better expansions of career opportunities, and better deals. Deals find winners.
How do you manage winners? Add a few more stones for support (see the last post), thank them, and leave them alone. Success gives people the confidence, the room, and the security to define their own terms and determine their own fate. Success allows people the time to polish their performance rather than reporting to bosses and others on the reasons for the losses.
CITE: Confidence: How winning streaks and losing streaks begin and end by Rosabeth Moss Kanter