The surprising force of emotional wake

March 24, 2020

Much like boats, people can also create wakes. Emotional wake is the feeling you impart on people. From the swells of a good feeling to a ripple of irritation, it can be positive or negative. These emotions are contagious and have the potential to impact on productivity and engagement.

Consider two scenarios;


Scenario one: An individual who is pessimistic, always complaining about their workload and stressing about deadlines.


Scenario two: An individual who is optimistic, actively enjoys their work and positively responds to client demands and feedback.

In scenario one, the constant complaining and negative attitude will (sooner or later) impact the rest of the team. The shadow of this emotional wake will bring the rest of the team down too. As the saying goes, misery loves company. This can lead to poor morale and reduced productivity which can have severe consequences on business.

In scenario two, the positive outlook shared by one individual provides a refreshing and inspiring attitude for the rest of the team to follow. Being positive makes people more approachable, which leads to improved team-work and efficiency.

It’s a no brainer – out of the two scenarios I know who I would rather work with! So how do we adopt and maintain this optimistic, positive attitude in the workplace?

1. Be mindful. Check-in with your emotions throughout the day. Remember you have the power to control how you feel. Get to know your triggers that induce negative emotions and learn techniques to remedy them.

2. Don’t forget the simple acts of kindness. Politeness and gratitude go a long way. Consider how you feel when someone thanks you for all your hard work, compared to if you receive no thanks at all.It’s a simple gesture, but it can have a profound effect in creating a positive emotional wake.

3. Ask for feedback. If you’re not sure where you can improve then ask a colleague that you work with closely for feedback on your behaviour. No one is perfect, there is always something to improve upon. Be prepared to take on board any feedback and react to it by creating a positive change, this will breed further positivity in the workplace!


Positive thinking is a skill to nurture and develop overtime. Practising optimistic attitudes is not only a skill to be applied at work, but one that carries over to your personal life too. Take charge of your wake to ensure that it brings new opportunities and doesn’t limit your possibilities both professionally and personally.

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