One of my favorite quotes about effective leadership comes from a book, Resonant Leadership. In the book, Boyatzis & Mckee, suggest that “Optimism is a way of looking at life…this outlook actually influences how you feel and what you think about things that happen to you and around you. Optimistic people tend to believe that good things will happen, and when bad things do happen, that the situation is bound to change for the better fairly quickly." Leadership scholar Warren Bennis said it like this - "In short, every exemplary leader that I have met has what seems to be an unwarranted degree of optimism – and that helps generate the energy and commitment necessary to achieve results." So here's a question, How are you perceived by others? Are you viewed as an individual with a hopeful and positive outlook? A person who envisions an exciting future? A leader who breaths life into the organization and its members? Or, are you perceived by others as a negative force. An energy drain?
Now, do not get me wrong, an unrealistic sense of optimism can be detrimental to organization as well. Overly optimistic people may have a difficult time confronting the brutal facts or facing the challenges inherent in each organization. However, the unique individual who carefully balances the realities of organizational life with an optimistic outlook is a powerful force. Optimism energizes others toward a better future in a powerful way. So as you reflect on your role as a leader or even leaders who have come in and out of your life…think about their general outlook and the tone you set with others.
This post comes to you from Lead Facilitator Scott Allen.