Positivity is not usually the first quality someone asks for in a leader, however a positive attitude is a vital force when it comes to motivating people. Positive teams who enjoy their work are generally more productive and engaged, and this stems from the top.
Confident, supportive leaders breed more collaborative and creative teams, and that makes a very attractive workplace for drawing in new talent. Being positive is contagious, and a team with a collective positive attitude is more likely to go above and beyond for a leader, and workplace that they are happy and proud to be a part of.
What is Leadership Positivity?
The formula to having a positive attitude is essentially simple: do more of the things you love + spend more time expecting good things to happen than bad + add a dose of optimism regarding the future. Think of it this way, the goal when tackling a problem is to get things back to the way they normally were, only better. Leadership Positivity is about raising the bar – about tackling the problem in order to move forward. It is about building on what is already working well and, without sounding too cliched, about being the best you can be.
Leaders must balance this against keeping their teams happy. Working as hard as possible in order to achieve the best result could end up running a team into the ground. In terms of people management, Leadership Positivity is about showing your team appreciation for their skills, and trusting them to carry out the jobs they are assigned. As Frank P. Saladis says: “The truly effective and positive leader is an observer, a mentor, a change agent, and someone who enables others to succeed.”
It’s important to note that Leadership Positivity does not mean that you must be permanently happy and never critical. Ignoring the challenges and pretending things are great when they are not will not do anyone any favours.
Benefits of Leadership Positivity
Leadership Positivity is easy to talk about, however it can be difficult to put into practice. It takes work and commitment. When you are positive, you will find it easier to build a network of advocates and team members to help you when you need it. Projects face difficulties and challenges, a positive perspective and a supportive team will help you to move forward past the obstacles, even after major setbacks.
Leaders set the tone for a workplace, which over time will help create the culture. It’s easy to see how negative, cynical leaders will create a toxic atmosphere that their team will pick up on and respond to. Positive leaders are not only more effective in leading their projects and teams to success, they can create a culture of positivity leadership in their co-workers.
In Primal Leadership, The Hidden Driver of Great Performance (Goleman, Boyatzis, McKee, 2005) the results of 2 years of research into the link between a leader’s mood and their team or company’s bottom line performance are shown…and unsurprisingly, they found that “moods are, quite literally, contagious”. That's not to say, as the authors point out, that a leader's actions aren't critical to performance. The message on Leadership Positivity is clear - emotional leadership is the spark that ignites a company's performance.
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