Per the emotional intelligence guru, Daniel Goleman, the emotional state of a business organization is the number one determinant of its success. Yet new discoveries in neurobiology are showing us that emotions are transmitted in surprising ways that transcend all borders. As leaders, we must become more mindful of who is setting the emotional tone of our businesses, including those sitting outside its walls.
The Reach of Emotional Energy
Emotions literally run rampant among people. Just by being in proximity of each other, without saying or doing anything, we influence each others’ emotions. Psychologists as far back as 1981 found that three strangers could sit facing each other in silence for a minute or two and the most emotionally active of the three will have transmitted his or her mood to the other two. It’s a fact that when multiple people are in the same proximity, even for relatively short timeframes, they end up sharing the same mood.
The Institute of HeartMath has found that one person’s brain waves will often automatically synchronize to another person’s heart vibrations, which reflect our emotional state. Our heart fields have been definitively measured to extend at least eight feet from our body, but researchers making this measurement openly state that the equipment used to measure the field was only capable of measuring up to eight feet. They believe that the heart field actually extends for miles beyond the physical body.
If our business organizations are in the region of strong emotions of anger and frustration, employees will be influenced. This impacts business because people in cranky, negative moods ignore opportunities and let customers slip away. Unhealthy emotional environments create fear and anxiety, which decrease creativity and mental efficiency and eventually lead to massive burnout. Yet science is showing us how challenging it can be to keep our business environments positive.
Extending the Distance
Physicists have been offering a connected view of our world for decades. Early in the 20th century, quantum mechanics clearly showed that all things in our universe, including us humans, are parts of one all-encompassing pattern of energy. It concluded that although we appear to exist independently, no parts are ever really separate from each other.
Quantum physics is bursting with experiments showing that physically separate objects still act as one. For example, many experiments have shown that two particles, in two different places, can have an unexplained relationship where one particle changes direction instantaneously when the other particle changes direction. Through experimentation it has been proven that such influences can extend over more than one hundred kilometers, and the theory is that this connectedness extends over the entire planet.
I like to think that the substance forming the connections is like water to fish. The fish live in it but it is transparent to them and they take it for granted. This substance has been shown to link material substances over any distance, so it’s logical to conclude that our human connectivity can transcend great distances. Lending credence to this idea is strong evidence that we’re all accessing a connected memory.
I’ll be candid that I’m not sure how far our emotional energy extends, but there’s no doubt that it extends beyond the borders of an office building. This highlights the need to be concerned with the emotional energy of the communities surrounding our businesses, including the protesters in the park a few blocks away and the slums across the border. The energy of angry and frustrated people is not separate from our own.
The lines between organizations, and even between nations, are invisible and incapable of impeding the flow of emotional energy. For the same reason that it’s important to keep the energy of our business organizations positive, it’s important to keep the energy of the communities around the globe positive. This shows us that the plight of people around the world is quite literally our business, and hence our responsibility.Share