The Leaders Influence the Team and Business Success

University studies conclude that the leaders emotions and actions are contagious.

Emotional contagion has been shown here to play a significant role in work group dynamics. The results of this research confirm that people do not live on emotional islands but, rather, that group members experience moods at work, these moods ripple out and, in the process influence not only other group members’ emotions but their group dynamics and individual cognitions, attitudes, and behaviors as well. Thus, emotional contagion, through its direct and indirect influence on employees’ and work teams’ emotions, judgements, and behaviours can lead to subtle but important ripple effects in groups and organizations. Power holders, such as supervisors, are very important in employees work lives. It is important not only that leaders be able to impart their emotions to followers but that they be emotionally attuned to and influenced by their followers, so as to truly understand, empower, and lead them.

Story 1

The Axeman

Back in the early 1900’s a man named Blake approached a logging company for a job chopping down trees, he was fit and had been chopping trees all his life.

He won the job and was given a quoto to meet of 8 – 10 trees per day.

Into the forest with his axe.

The first day he chopped down 12 trees, his focus was clear and set on the chopping that he was so good at.

By day 3 he was down to 8 trees, and by day 5 he was chopping 7 trees, he had been totally vigilent and doing what he knew best.

Blake felt a very uncomfortable feeling as he saw his boss approaching from outside the forest area, he did not look happy. Blake gulped as his boss stepped up to him and said “Blake, I am really sorry, but I have to let you go.” Blake stepping back said “ I know my count is under but I know what to do, am I am putting my full effort in, I promise you, but it’s just going around and around, I don’t know why the counts going down. The Boss asked Blake “How often have you sharpened your axe?” 

Abraham Lincoln was asked what he would do if he had six days to chop down some trees. He said, “for five days I would be sharpening the axe”

Story 2


An interesting research area is the deliberate use of emotional contagion in many organizational cultures, socialization, and leadership processes. Leaders in general and charasmatic or transformational leaders especially (e.g., Conger, 1989), make particularly strong and explicit use of emotions. For example, when Lou Gerstner was brought in as chief executive office of IBM, he recognized the importance of the transfer of emotions in leading organizations when he talked about the culture change needed at IBM and stated, “ It’s not something you do by writing memos. You’ve got to appeal to people’s emotions. They’ve got to buy in with their hearts and their bellies, not just their minds” (Lohr, 1994:1)

On a more day - to – day and perhaps less conscious level, there is imperical evidence showing that leaders’ and managers’ positive work moods are positively associated with employees’ work performance (George, 1995) and that people are attracted to emotionally expressive others (Friedman, Riggio, and Casella, 1998). Ref : The Ripple Effect: Emotional Contagion and Its Influence on Group Behaviour Author(s): Signal G. Barsade