We’ve all had the life experience where a group activity is going smoothly and morale is high… up until that one person walks in with “negative energy.” It’s like the spell of positivity and efficiency is lifted, and negative emotions spread throughout the rest of the group. How by a single person or small group of people who project their emotions onto the rest of the team, whether it be consciously or subconsciously.
As highly emotional animals, humans pick up on other peoples’ signals like body language and energy levels, and often their own experience will change as a result. This type of mimicry is called emotional contagion, and it can apply to both positive emotions as well as negative ones. In both cases, emotional contagion has important implications when considering effective teamwork strategies and organizational culture in particular.