As leaders we are confronted by a lot of negativity that has the potential to weigh us down and affect our attitude and approach. One of the challenges all leaders face is to remain positive when things go awry. We all know it is increasingly difficult to be positive in a world where we are often faced with nothing but negativity (what ever happened to the one happy story at the end of the nightly news?).
What we do know is that the manner in which we approach our role is in fact a choice that each of us makes. The question for each of us is – are we positive in our approach and focus on solutions and opportunities or do we focus on blame and consequences and adopt a negative approach? Personally, I choose positivity over negativity.
In a recent article, 9 Positive Things Leaders Do, Michael McKinney reminded me of the research confirming that people who experience more positive emotions than negative ones are more likely to flourish in their work. This suggests that, as leaders, we need to consider our attitudes and focus on solutions and opportunities as opposed to playing the blame game. This does not mean that we ignore the negativity of the situation – it just means that we overcome the situation and focus on the solutions.
Truly positive leaders are able to create positive environments where all team members are headed in the same direction chasing the same outcomes. They are optimistic and confront negativity head on. They build strong, connected and resilient teams that are able to pursue excellence and are able to move forward in the face of adversity.
McKinney suggests that there are nine positive things that leaders can do to confront and transform the negativity that so often pervades our operations. These nine actions can also enhance our own leadership capabilities and will have a positive impact on all of those around us. In summary those actions are:
- Create a positive culture that everybody respects - and then live it.
- Define the future and get everyone heading towards that vision.
- Lead with courage, faith and positivity.
- Don’t ignore negativity – deal with it and move on.
- Build united and resilient teams.
- Create and maintain mutually respectful relationships.
- Never stop learning.
- Lead by example.
- Learn from your mistakes.
As John Quincy Adams said ‘If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you are a leader.’ So, do you tend to focus on the negativity around you or are you positive in your approach, inspiring others to dream, learn and be more?