As a manager or a leader, we are responsible for the culture in our teams and organisations. So if we want to create a positive culture we need to learn to be positive ourselves. This isn’t always easy as there are any number of factors that affect our outlook and mood every day.
You may have a team meeting planned that you were going to turn into an all-out, pat on the back pep rally but receiving an angry email from the chairman five minutes beforehand can really take the wind out of your sails. Train delays, spilt coffee and parking tickets can all throw a spanner in the works for your plan to be the smiling light of positivity in your office.
In his latest book entitled The Book of Leadership, Anthony Gell offers a range of practical and thought provoking ideas that can have a profound effect on the way in which we lead others. In his study of great leaders, Mr Gell has uncovered the following tips for remaining optimistic and keeping the spirits of our teams high, no matter the circumstance.
Look for the good
There is a powerful principle in life that states, “You get what you focus on” or “You see what you’re looking for.” To illustrate this, try the following exercise:
Stop reading and look around your immediate surroundings wherever you are. Try to focus on all of the items that are red.
Once you have done this, close your eyes and try to remember all of the items you saw that were green. Unless you are some form of savant, it will be much harder to recall the green objects. This is because you only see what you are looking for.
By celebrating and rewarding the successes of your team on a ritual basis you will be hardwiring yourself to be a more optimistic leader. Over time you will condition your brain to think positively through the power of habit and automaticity.
Reframe your thoughts
History is littered with stories of people who through adversity discovered new found opportunities and reached a potential they might not have otherwise been aware of. As leaders, it is our job to remind ourselves and our teams that what might seem like bad news or bad luck may actually be the beginning of a colossal and previously unseen opportunity.
Laugh and have a playful outlook
Keeping a sense of humour and having a fun outlook is a very powerful and productive state for leaders. We need to get into the habit of laughing and relaxing with our team as there is nothing wrong with having fun at work. Results can still be taken seriously but being in a positive and playful state enables us to think better.
Have something to look forward to
Plan activities that will enable your team to break up their regular work routine as this will help you and your team gain perspective on your work schedule. Whether it is a company outing, an inspirational speaker or a weekly lunch, having something to look forward to is a powerful tool for maintaining an optimistic outlook for yourself and your team.
There are a myriad of ways that we can relax ourselves during tense situations. By taking the time out to simply breathe slowly and deeply or by scheduling some meditation into your daily routine, you will give yourself a much better opportunity to make clear decisions, inspire others and maintain your focus on optimistic leadership.
Do things that inspire you
If you are positive outside of your work it is much easier to carry that positivity into your workplace. A great activity to do is to list all the activities outside of work which bring great joy and happiness to you. Then just make sure you schedule time for doing those things. Also, make sure you surround yourself with positive people, watch positive things on TV, listen to motivational tapes and avoid horror movies and negative people.
Anthony Gell is the founder and CEO of LeadersIn, an online and offline community dedicated to sharing wisdom from world leaders in their field. In The Book Of Leadership he combines his own experiences as a CEO with those of the leaders he has interviewed to provide insights and advice into leading others.