Read this study and consider what role you play in groups. Is it the one you want to play?
Groups of participants were brought into a lab to complete a simulated managerial exercise under the guidance of Sigal Barsade, an associate professor of management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Each group included a research assistant who was told to act either positive or negative, and to exhibit either high or low energy.
Examining both participants' self-reported mood and independent video coders' ratings, Barsade found that individuals grouped with the positive mood research assistant became more positive over time, while those in the other condition became, as expected, more negative.
“We aren't emotional islands,” said Barsade, who added, “We are walking mood conductors.”
Also, the positive-emotional-contagion groups experienced increased cooperation, less conflict, and improved perceived performance compared to those in the negative condition.
In fact, the group emotional experience was so powerful that in some groups the participants ended up exchanging phone numbers after the study, according to Barsade.
Discover how you can become more positive and thus more resilient and successful by reading Martin Seligman’s Learned Optimism.