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Positive, Realistic Leadership

If you are going to succeed in leadership and pass on a significant legacy, you are going to have to consistently combine reality and a positive attitude in your personal leadership style. Great leaders never ignore reality. But they are not bleak or negative. They are able to confront the facts with optimism, and maintain an encouraging, forward-looking balance. You will be contagious and it will spread to others.Whether we work at it or not, reality always catches up with us. It’s better to proactively choose reality than be blindsided and derailed by it eventually. Positive attitudes never just catch up with us, however. We have to choose them, but we are always in charge of our attitude. Choosing a positive work attitude increases productivity, brings a successful career, creates strong work relationships, and helps in making solid decisions.The positive attitude that propels you forward is a combination of small things, like simply smiling and greeting people when you reach the office or work site. These gestures go a long way. But there are many other ways to up the level of positive leadership.

  • Show interest in what is going on, even it is not your immediate responsibility. The more you know, and the more positive contacts you have, the better you will be equipped.

  • Keep your conversation positive and avoid gossip. Keep your comments professional and uplifting.

  • Whenever you have an opening, help people who are buried in work. This is not “brown-nosing,” but putting time and energy to good use.

  • Be respectful to everyone. Look down on no one.

  • Set goals and targets for yourself. Make sure the goals are in line with your company objectives. The accomplishment of goals is a positive energy source.

You may be thinking, “I can’t just turn that on when I go to work.” No, you can’t for the long haul—maybe for a few weeks. But keep in mind, you have a JOB. You are not doing your employer a favor by being there. No one will benefit more than you if you develop a positive attitude that you bring with you and take home with you as well.A positive attitude is not just thinking happy thoughts, being a Pollyanna. A positive attitude is something that goes deeper and has an effect beyond surface cheer. Negative attitudes promote fear and a narrowing of focus and the mind, while positive attitudes do the opposite. Studies have also shown that having a true positive attitude makes your view of life seem broad, full of possibilities. That view leads to actually living your life in a way that makes it natural to be exposed to and acquire new skills.So how do you go about getting a positive attitude for all of your life, particularly if it doesn’t come naturally to you

  • Surround yourself with positive people. We tend to gather around us who we are, and we also tend to become more like the people with whom we associate. Who you hang with rubs off on you.If you’re always with negative people who complain about everything, you’ll become a complainer and see the world as negative as they do. You might think you can stay positive and change them, but that’s not going to be the case. Try to connect with people who like their job, have new ideas, and are interested in lots of other things besides work. It will make your whole outlook better. Of course, you can’t choose the people you work with, but you can choose how much time you spend with them and what you talk about.

  • Be careful what fills your mind. A children’s song says, “Input, output, what goes in is what comes out.” That is absolutely true. Garbage in, garbage out. Listen to positive music with headphones. Listen to uplifting audio books or podcasts on the drive into work. Read books and articles that are encouraging. Watch videos that help you improve skills. Go to conferences that focus on making you better. You are what you think about.

  • Control your language. Be conscious of the words you use when speaking and thinking. Your language sets the parameters of how you view your world. If you speak of your work as tedious and boring, it is likely to be so. The alternative is true as well. Be aware of how you choose to think and speak at work. Find a positive way to view everything and everyone. Cut complaining out of your life.

  • Create a routine for the day and for the week. Routines get a bad rap, but they give you a structure to get the most important work done at the time of your best energy. You can build in the needed rests. You can also create high points in each day and week. One of the best parts of an exciting vacation is the time period of anticipation leading up to it. Knowing something good is coming can help you stay positive on the hardest days. You can create small “high points” in each day to help you get through projects or days that might otherwise seem draining.

  • Remember that no one owes you anything. One of the worst killers of a good attitude is entitlement. No one owes you anything. Life is not fair. If you believe otherwise, you set yourself up as a perpetual victim, always blaming and joyless. Accept that it is up to you to make your own decisions and future. Take responsibility for your own choices and consequences. Refusing to take responsibility for your actions and your situation, or not taking control of how you respond, kills a positive attitude immediately. After all, if something happens and you’re at fault or in some way responsible, refusing to acknowledge it means you can’t correct the behavior and it will happen again, and you also set yourself up for a victimhood mindset in which things happen to you.

  • Proactively choose your reactions and stick with them. You know the kinds of things that typically upset you. Decide ahead of time that they won’t. Accept that things will happen that you don’t like, but you will not let them throw you.

  • Choose to be nice to people, no matter what. A study in the Journal of Social Psychology found that doing something kind for people has the same effect as trying new and exciting things when it comes to feeling happy. Negativity feeds on conflict and negativity. Choosing to treat people with kindness short-circuits that.

  • Don’t rely on someone or something else to keep you motivated and positive. Be a person who comes with batteries included and charged! Carry a positive attitude with you.

  • Have a personal mission statement. Purpose feeds a positive attitude. A personal mission statement will help you define your purpose at work, what your life is about, and what motivates your behavior. It’s a good thing to fall back on when work gets crazy and you’re confused about what it is you’re doing.

  • Have personal goals. Goals are specific things you want to achieve. It’s tough to be positive if you think you’re going nowhere. Goals are the proof that you have a plan and you’re working toward something. They are evidence of forward, positive motion.

  • Laugh. LAUGH. Laughing is good for you physically, emotionally, and relationally. Who doesn’t love a good laugh? Humor is especially good when things are going terribly wrong. Be that person who always finds a way to laugh. Try to find humor wherever you can. But never get your laughter at someone else’s expense.

  • Be curious. Being curious about a new situation or what’s going on tends to make you mindful and aware of the present moment, and that tends to force out negative attitudes. Learning new things makes you positive and interesting.

  • Look to the big picture and the long-term. While it’s not good to live in a realm of make-believe, thinking realistically in the long-term and seeing your part in the big picture provides a positive spin to your day and helps you construct those goals we mentioned earlier.

  • When all else fails, fake it ‘til you make it. Hypocrisy is not what we’re going for. However, the truth is that we don’t always feel the emotion we need. Sitting around and waiting for a big emotion balloon to explode over our heads is a sure way to make sure I never feel the positivity I need. Don’t feel happy? Don’t feel excited about a presentation? Fake it. Most every time the real emotion will show up. Behave your way into a positive place. Handle your emotions; don’t let them handle you.

You need to be positive. And I am positive you can be!

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