Think of the attributes of your ideal business leader and moody almost certainly isn't among them. Generally we want the captain of the ship to be steady, clear eyed and largely predictable, not the sort of person who lets the whims of the moment or personal concerns color her decision making or interactions with others.
This can work against the thin skinned among us, and particularly against women who are (fairly or unfairly) often perceived as more emotional, and therefore sometimes passed over as less than leadership material. But according psychiatrist and author Julie Holland, the conventional wisdom when it comes to moodiness is all wrong--hair trigger emotions are a valuable trait not a cause for snide office complaints or vaguely sexist insults.
Intuition: another name for moodiness
We think of moody people as those that often have strong feelings without good cause, but according to Dr. Holland, who was featured in a short video on Big Think recently, there is a fundamental flaw with this understanding. Moody people generally get moody for a reason; they're just more sensitive to small stimuli than others.
What's another way to say that? Being moody means you're tuned in to you feelings, or in other words, you have great intuition. If you'll listen to it.
"The idea of why being moody can be good for you really has to do with taking advantage of one of the biggest strengths and assets that women have, which is this intuition. Knowing that something is wrong, feeling that something is wrong, and then optimally speaking up about it," Holland says in the video.
The key is not repressing your feelings, but listening to your gut and identifying and rectifying what's triggering them. "If we feel our emotions and are able to express, you know, 'What you're doing is upsetting to me. I think what you're doing is wrong.' Everybody benefits," Holland argues.
One big caveat
Of course, just like with any other personality trait, if taken to extremes moodiness isn't healthy, a point Holland is at pains to stress. "The first thing to keep in mind I think that's very important is that a mood disorder, which is a sort of a psychiatric diagnosis, that's not what we're talking about," she underlines.
"What I'm talking about is an emotion that comes over you and lasts maybe 15 to 90 seconds and then if you really feel it and allow it to pass, it will," she adds, advocating "feeling an emotion, sitting with it, really understanding it, and then conveying it to somebody else."
Being besieged by baseless feelings of misery isn't moodiness, in other words, it's a mental health problem for which one should consider getting help. But if you find your emotions are simply a little faster to kindle than those around you, stop feeling like that's something to be ashamed of. If you learn to listen to those moods and channel them into appropriate communication, your sensitivity could very well could become one of your biggest strengths.
Do you agree with Holland that moodiness has a serious upside?