A 2018 study from Stanford University showed that a positive attitude in children towards their school work could be just as important as their IQ.
How does that transfer to adults and leadership?
Well in all the years of business coaching…I have rarely had an employee complain to me about their Boss’s technical skills. Yes, you guessed it…it was usually about their approach.
So, let’s flip it around. Who would you rather lead or be on an executive team with–someone with exceptional technical skills and a poor attitude or someone with exceptional technical skills and a positive attitude? If being excellent at the hard skills (those business, professional and technical skills) is not an option in your place of business…then I would like to propose that having an excellent attitude shouldn’t be an option either.
What kind of leader do you want to be? One who employees want to work for? Or teammates gravitate towards? Or one where other leaders reach out for guidance and support? Or do you want to be the one that is avoided at all costs?
My guess, if your reading still, then you are up to the challenge of being the best you can be, so those first definitions fit you best.
So how do you do it? How can you further develop and incorporate positivity into your leadership approach?
Here are four suggestions:
1. Make the decision to choose a positive attitude
At every moment of every day you choose how you want to show up. It is absolutely under your control, how you respond to anything that comes your way. It will take practice, but search for the potential in every situation instead of the problem. The problems won’t go away but how you respond to them can and will determine how people perceive you as a leader.
2. Look at the research if you need some data to support your decision
There is hard data to support positive thinking and it is a billion-dollar business to boot, but don’t be fooled, I am not saying simply having a positive attitude is all you need. Remember, the choice isn’t positivity or skill. It is skill PLUS positivity that give you the leadership advantage. Look into the work of Martin Seligman , Barbara Frederickson and Carol Dweck to beef up your Leadership Library.
3. Actively find the positive in others
At least once a day acknowledge the positive attitude in others. It is an age-old management adage…what you focus on grows. You can set the stage, let it be a positive one, and others will follow your lead. It is behavior that is fueled by a positive attitude that can change corporate culture, which has a huge impact on your organization’s success.
4. Recognize the powerful effect having a positive attitude can have on your team
It will help you to create a Good Place to Work, which leads to employee satisfaction, increased employee retention, leading to increased productivity and ultimately client satisfaction…so they return and do more business with you. All are aspects of a great ROI for choosing a positive attitude. Glassdoor states nurturing a positive culture as one of the top 4 key attributes of their most successful CEO’s.
I would like to end with a quote from pastor and educator Charles Swindoll…
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church….a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.”
Now go on and take the day!