Do you inspire your team or discourage them? Your leadership style—whether positive or negative—matters more than you realize. In fact, your attitude makes all the difference in the culture and success of your team, especially when it comes to virtual employees. They often feel isolated, and you may be their most important connection to the organization. If your attitude stinks, so will theirs.
“The good news is, even if you’re the biggest pessimist you know, you can learn to change your outlook and that will change your life and make you a much stronger leader,” says Jon Gordon, author of the new book The Power of Positive Leadership: How and Why Positive Leaders Transform Teams and Organizations and Change the World.
Here are his seven tips to make the life- and business-changing transformation from a negative leader to a positive leader.
- Stop complaining and blaming. If you’re complaining, you’re not leading, says Gordon. Leaders don’t complain. They focus on solutions. They identify problems and look to solve them in order to create a better future for all. Positive leaders don’t attack people. They attack problems.
- Don’t focus on where you are; focus on where you’re going. Lead your team with optimism and vision. Regardless of the circumstances, keep pointing others toward a positive future.
- Lead with love instead of fear. Fear is draining; love is sustaining. Fear divides; love unites. Gordon explains that the key to leading without fear is to provide both love and accountability. “Negative leaders provide a lot of fear and accountability, but no love,” says Gordon. “If your team knows you love them, they will allow you to challenge them. But love must come first.”
- Be demanding without being demeaning. Many people think positive leaders just smile all the time and don’t care about results. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Positive leaders pursue excellence. They believe in a brighter future so they take the necessary actions. More important, says Gordan, is that “They lift others up in order to accomplish their goals, rather than tear them down.”
- Connect one-on-one. As a virtual leader, this may be your biggest challenge, but it is integral. When you can, bring employees into the office, but also make a concerted effort to connect with them individually on a regular basis.
- Encourage instead of discourage. Positive leaders are also positive communicators in such a way that they make people around them better and feel encouraged instead of hopeless or discouraged. They also listen to and welcome new ideas, and instill the belief that success is possible.
“One of my favorite phrases comes from the original Olympic ‘Dream Team’ and Detroit Pistons coaches Chuck Daly and Brendan Suhr,” says Gordon. “It is ‘shout praise, whisper criticism.’ Shout praise means recognizing someone in front of their peers, and whisper criticism means coaching them to get better. Both build better people and teams.”
“There is a power associated with positive leadership,” concludes Gordon. “Even if you naturally lean toward a negative outlook, making a few changes can inspire momentous change in your own career success as well as in the success of your team.”
Jon Gordon’s newest book is The Power of Positive Leadership: How and Why Positive Leaders Transform Teams and Organizations and Change the World. His best-selling books and talks have inspired readers and audiences around the world. His principles have been put to the test by numerous NFL, NBA, and MLB coaches and teams, Fortune 500 companies, school districts, hospitals, and non-profits.
About the Book:
The Power of Positive Leadership: How and Why Positive Leaders Transform Teams and Organizations and Change the World. (Wiley, April 2017, ISBN: 978-1-1193519-7-9, $25.00, www.jongordon.com) is available at bookstores nationwide, from major online booksellers, and direct from the publisher by calling 800-225-5945. In Canada, call 800-567-4797. For more information, please visit the book’s page on www.wiley.com.