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There is a popular theory that an employee’s behavior is a function of the person and the environment.  Behavior includes performance, engagement, attitude and approach.  The person entails personality, strengths, weaknesses and character traits.  The environment is culture, the people, the policies and the physical space that one resides.

If you were to illustrate this as a formula it would like the following – In this example, Behavior (B) = (P) Person + (E) Environment

I would suggest that today this formula ought to be revised – In this example, Behavior is the sum of the person, but the environment ought to be an exponent to the power of 2.

What is the leader’s responsibility with environment?

The key is mood.  A leader’s mood can improve an employee’s performance, decision making and well-being. But what is the leader’s responsibility with setting the right mood in the office? Is it ok for leaders to show up authentically? In other words, if they are having a bad day is it ok for them to bring their anger, anxiety or frustration to the job?  The answer is “It depends.” The situation matters and we encourage CEOs to be honest and authentic with their team, which will create permission for each employee to do the same.

A few things to consider as it relates to the leader and the environment –

First, as a leader remember that your team plays off your emotion.  If you are excited there is a good chance that they may become excitable.  If you are anxious, they may become anxious.  Some employees are less susceptible to your emotion, but many are not.

Second, build positivity in your office culture.  We know from research that a positive work environment is created through positive remarks.  In fact, a positive culture is built through having between 2.5 – 13.5 positive statements per meeting.  If you have less than 2.5 positive remarks per meeting or 1:1, the culture may feel toxic. If you have more than 13.5 positive remarks, employees may wonder if the company is in touch with reality.  Strike the right balance for your teams.

Thirdly, you need a trusted emotional outlet.  Hire an executive coach or process with a friend when emotions are skyrocketing.  Then you can enter the meeting with calm and clarity to support your team.

A great environment is a great multiplier of a great culture.