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8 Ways to be an Optimistic Leader

Optimism is one of the most underrated tools of success for leaders. Not only does a leader’s positivity create a better working environment, but an optimistic leader has been found to be seen as a more effective leader.

Although people may find it difficult to see past some of the hard realities in your industry, by being an optimistic leader they choose to push past the obstacles they face, and challenge your team in a way that encourages growth.

Emotions are contagious, so if a leader wishes to achieve the best results, an optimistic outlook is vital. 

Below are the top 8 ways to be an optimistic leader.8 Ways To Be More Optimistic1. Accept mistakes and move on

An optimist will accept when mistakes are made but not dwell on them. Instead, an optimist will look at ways they can rectify the situation in a timely manner that ensure that it is only a temporary setback

2. Highlight the positive

When beginning meetings or discussions, an optimistic leader will begin the session with highlighting and accentuating the positives that have occurred/been done by team members. Research shows that people rationalise that the first items covered in a discussion with a leader is what they hold most important. Therefore, by opening on a positive note, a leader reinforces the idea that they are an optimistic leader.

3. Identify solutions rather than placing blame

Much like the first point, a leader must look at ways to rectify a problem rather than placing blame. This not only demonstrates leadership, but it also eliminates pessimism.

4. Value different perspectives

A leader who is able to examine different perspectives is one that is optimistic. They understand that the right idea can come from anywhere, and through that different perspective one may be able to achieve a better decision or outcome.

5. Push the idea of long term goals

A leader who pushes and emphasises the idea of long term goals and visions is one who reinforces optimism. By emphasising long term goals, it enables team members to work through the short term obstacles as they know what they need to do through this short term to achieve the long term.

6. Welcome negative feedback and criticism

An optimistic leader invites any negative feedback or criticism from anyone they come across in their job role. They understand that negative feedback enables them to gain a greater understanding of what is desired of them and gives them the chance to learn, grow and improve. This is contrasted by a negative leader who will avoid negative feedback at all costs in an attempt to avoid giving feedback back.

7. Drive and inspire

People often believe that a leader should push their team to achieve results. Although this is true, to be an optimistic leader should also ‘pull’ team members by inspiring them. To create this ‘push and pull’, an optimistic leader will be enthusiastic and make hard work fun. A leader who can do this will be one that is optimistic, creates drive and inspires.

8. Give honest, constructive feedback

An optimist understands the value and importance of feedback as they appreciate the feedback that is given to them. Optimistic leaders support the growth of their team, and will therefore provide feedback that is honest and constructive for the team member’s benefit

Research has found that the more positive or optimistic a leader is, the higher ranked in percentile they are.

By following the above tips, a leader not only engages their team members but also reinforces the fact that they are an optimistic leader.

About the Author: William Lang

William Lang
Bill Lang has over 25 years professional experience working as an organisation strategy and development consultant and C-suite Executive Coach. Early in his career he worked with KPMG, McKinsey &Co., Bain & Company and AXA as an Executive. His clients operate in over 50 countries and on all continents. He is former member of the Melbourne University Commerce Faculty and holds a MBA(Harvard) and B.Comm/LLB (Hons). He is the author and creator of the Scores on the Board skill development and improvement system.

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