Positive Leadership

I’m currently taking a leadership course at work, and one of the important aspects they teach is “positive leadership”. Being positive, having a positive attitude, and approaching others with a positive mindset in an important part of being a good leader.

This seems self-evident, but apparently not as evident as one would hope. There are still many folks who don’t subscribe to this philosophy. I recall management types from the 80’s, “management by intimidation”, and the like. But as the workforce makes a generational switch to millennials, positive leadership takes an even more important role.

As a leader, I cannot rely on “because I said so” to get folks to do what I need them to do. That really never worked, not for any length of time, but especially not now. People want to know why they do things, how they are contributing to something bigger. People need to be “engaged”, they need to buy into whatever it is you are selling. They need to follow you because they want to. The hierarchical relationships of the past do not hold the same influence they once did. And someone can pretend they are following you only so long. Eventually they will need to follow you even when you are not looking, and that is where the true believers and the sceptics can be found.

There are a lot of elements in the workplace that cannot be controlled, but of the few that can be, your attitude is one you can control. How you react to situations, to people, to challenges, defines you and affects those around you. You can choose to meet challenges with a smile or as a grouch. Guess which one will affect your colleagues more positively?

Maintaining a positive attitude during a challenge allows you to think more clearly, to project an image of confidence, and opens doors of possibilities to meet the challenge. It inspires people around you and creates and image of competence. Insurmountable challenges are rare. They typically spell the end of an organization. Most challenges can be overcome. But you have to maintain a positive attitude. Not only for yourself, but for those you lead.

This requires to maintain focus on your attitude. From the moment you wake up until you go to sleep, did you have a positive attitude? Did you smile? Did you say “thank you”? Did you offer praise? Did you give any feedback? Did you receive any? Getting angry and being grouchy only serves to make you less effective, less capable, and it is a complete turn off for those around you. Think about that when you face your next challenge. Take a deep breath, smile, and keep a positive attitude. This will get you a lot farther than the alternative.

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