Leaders, Your Attitude is Contagious. Make it a Good One.

A positive attitude can attract exactly what you desire in your career and in your life. As a leader, your attitude can also influence your organization. Think of the familiar saying, “When you smile, the whole world smiles with you.” Your attitude sets the tone. The good news is your attitude is also a choice.

What exactly is a positive attitude?

First, let’s be clear about what it’s not. Leaders with positive attitudes don’t ignore challenges or set-backs. Nor do they act like rose-colored-glasses-wearing cheerleaders. Instead, they: * Are optimists sporting a healthy dose of realism. * See problems as challenges to overcome. * View setbacks as opportunities to learn and reset the board for another try. * Know that missing a goal isn’t a failure; it’s a chance to evaluate what did not work, and then set a new goal with more information to guide the process.

How do you exhibit a positive attitude?

  • Positive leaders (and their teams) focus on responsibility and team success vs. job description. When a ball is dropped or an end left dangling, the “not my job” defense isn’t productive. In fact, it’s detrimental to progress. Instead, when team members are willing and ready to jump in and pick up the slack or take on a task to ensure success, the whole team thrives. The best way to cultivate a team like this is to model a cooperative approach as a leader.
  • Positive leaders are good listeners and keep an open mind. If your first response to a new idea is “but we’ve always done it this way,” you’re cultivating a stagnant culture. Growth (and with it, success) depends on forward motion. Just keep a healthy dab of realism wrapped around this one. Considering new ideas is a good thing; however, acting upon ideas without due diligence to weigh its actual potential is another.
  • Positive leaders see potential, even in failure. Think about the last time you felt inspired to try a new angle of attack on a tough problem. If you had approached the misstep with a sense of defeat, getting up and starting again would have been difficult (if not impossible!). On the other hand, when you view an unsuccessful attempt as an opportunity to learn, you are spurred with the motivation and energy to tackle that new angle.
  • Positive leaders offer feedback, not criticism. This applies not just to your team, but also yourself. Sometimes people make mistakes. How you address those wrong moves, however, will influence whether they are growing experiences or growth inhibitors. Criticism focuses on fault and judgment. Feedback opens the door to progress and how to achieve better outcomes in the future.