The power of positivity.

Being a true leader even in tough times.

Positive-Thinking

In the face of adversity, we make choices. We decide how and to what extent we will involve ourselves in tackling conflicts. There are organizational conflicts and personnel conflicts. Even personal ones. We can’t control how others will act. We can only control how we will respond to crises, changes, and situations.

There is nothing more disheartening than encountering “professionals” that let negativity dictate their interactions with family, colleagues, and clients. We are not immune to the fact that the demands placed on professionals are limitless. Leaders find themselves equally as burdened by mandates, changing directives, disgruntled co-workers, employees, finicky clients, and the daily grind in life. Those of us that enjoy our work tend to thrive on these challenges; we enjoy brainstorming solutions and problem solving in order to improve and learn from experiences we confront.

Enter the power of positivity. As leaders, we cannot expect others to exude positivity without demonstrating this quality through our leadership. While some focus on maintaining daily tasks and remaining status quo (or are frankly just in survival mode), others are interested in taking living to the next level. What formerly was good enough just isn’t good enough anymore. This is referred to as positive deviancy, going beyond the norm in a positive direction, which will cause organizations to flourish, not just exist.

Focusing on the positives in these four domains:  climate, meaning, communication, and relationships, will enable leaders to take the next step in supporting a flourishing organization. What is at the heart of all of these domains? People. We’re truly in the people business. No matter where we go to work and what organization we work for, for most of us we have this one common thread, interacting with people.

Its easier to creative a positive culture in an organization experiencing success. The difficulties lie in times of adversity. When budgets are cut. When the pressure is on to perform. When home lives aren’t ideal. When there is conflict among staff. When the executive team isn’t supportive. When there aren’t enough resources.

We talk of reform and of change. So many are dedicated to improving, yet each day we encounter others in our communities who continue to resist and thus dampen our efforts. We cannot stand for this negativity. We cannot tolerate excuses.

Instead, we must lead positively and support our friends and colleagues along the way. What are some ways you’ve remained positive in your leadership efforts? How do you promote positivity in your organization? We’ve found these simple strategies to be successful through research:

  • Smile. Smile at people when you greet them. Smile when they say something amazing. Smile when they say something that exasperates you. If you give the impression that you are frustrated, upset, worried, etc., the people with whom you’re interacting will know it.
  • Keep a folder called “The Good.” Some have two. One in a desk drawer – where you file the thank you cards, children’s artwork, friendship letters, notes from staff…and the other is in your Inbox where you store much of the same. At those times when you need to say to yourself, “How can I keep up with the demands of this? Why do I do this?” Turn to the folders. And read. Smile. And remember very clearly why you do this.
  • Don’t act unless it’s in the best interest of serving people. Don’t speak it, say it, do it, unless it benefits people. Don’t waste energy on things that don’t. Being negative takes more energy than it’s worth. Did you know that?
  • Address the negative. Just like teachers use planned ignoring rather skillfully in their classrooms with students, there are some instances of negativity within an organization that are best ignored. Others are not. When the negativity seeps into the everyday actions of teachers, thus impacting life for students, it is no longer okay. Work with people. Help them see how their negative influences are detrimental to learning and are holding back the organization from greater success.
  • Celebrate. Celebrate everything, particularly the small successes. Help everyone in your organization see the value in what they do. Create a culture where it’s okay to brag. Share! Don’t limit your celebrations to within your work walls- be sure everyone in your community knows how excited you are about your work!

“If you will call your troubles experiences, and remember that every experience develops some latent force within you, you will grow vigorous and happy, however adverse your circumstances may seem to be.” -John Heywood

 

(Thank you to “The Principal’s Posts” for your insightful advice that we adapted here.)