When discussing leadership qualities, people typically focus on areas like vision, integrity, and courage. There is no question that these traits are essential, but positivity is the force multiplier. As you seek to fulfill your mission, positivity both empowers you and removes friction.
Here are 5 reasons why a positive attitude can make or break a leader:
1. Your attitude is contagious.
Today’s culture often treats cynicism like a virtue, but it is no secret that positive teams are productive teams. Confident and supportive cultures are more collaborative and creative and ultimately attract hard-working, talented people.
But if you want to harvest that kind of culture, you have to plant it. It cannot be coerced or enforced—it has to be demonstrated and illustrated. Whether positive or negative, a leader’s disposition affects an organization. Therefore it is critical to commit to a consistent positive attitude. It is ultimately better for your mental health, and it will have a marked influence on your team.
2. Enthusiasm is motivational.
It is true that you can drive people through intimidation. But why would you choose that route? People will only toil hard enough to stay off your radar, but they are not going to pour themselves into their work.
When you are leading with a positive attitude in a supportive climate, people will go above and beyond what is necessary. When people feel appreciated, they become more confident and productive. Positive enthusiasm is motivational—and there is virtually no downside.
3. Attitude directs our relationships.
Leaders lead people. So by definition, no leader is successful on their own. Their achievement is contingent upon their relationships. You can have all the leadership skills in the world, but if you are demanding and abrasive, you will have to work twice as hard to get half as far. You will have to pour much more energy into convincing people to follow you.
Positive people are like magnets. Good-natured, confident leaders are not struggling to attract others to their vision. Others are happy to be on their team because they engender trust and confidence. When you are positive, it is easier to build a network of advocates and champions.
4. Positivity creates resilience.
There is a reason that all the creatures in the Hundred Acre Wood were more apt to follow Winnie the Pooh instead of Eeyore. It was not because Pooh was smarter or more confident. It is because his attitude made life more palatable. His response to misfortune was not to feel sorry for himself; it was to find the good and move on.
The road to success is full of difficulties, obstacles, and challenges. When you have an optimistic perspective, these things are minor setbacks and not overwhelming morale killers. The better your attitude, the quicker you rebound after a setback. When people see your resilience, they feel braver and hardier themselves.
5. Optimism improves problem-solving.
When you run into an obstacle, how do you respond? Believe it or not, the answer to that question has a lot to do with your outlook. Negative people tend to brood and ruminate more, and this draws out the process of dealing with hurdles. Positive people tend to roll up their sleeves and start solving the problem.
Optimism allows you to see beyond the problem and recognize potential solutions. Hopeful people are less likely to wallow in frustration and discouragement. They want to tackle challenges head-on, regain lost momentum, and move forward.
Your attitude is your superpower.
Victor Frankl made a name for himself as a psychiatrist in Vienna, but he was also a Jewish prisoner in Auschwitz during WWII. His experience had a profound effect on his psychiatric philosophy, which can be summed up in this quote:
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
While a lot of factors influence our attitudes and outlook, do not let deterministic thinking influence how you see the world. Some people might have a natural disposition toward positivity, but even if you do not, you can still choose to become more positive.
So make a choice to become more positive, and reinforce your decision with inspiration to keep you motivated. You will be amazed at how quickly changes in your attitude affect your own life, as well as the lives of your team members—these changes will inspire everyone to keep growing!