What does it take to be a positive leader?

If we think back just 10 years, lots of the positive mindset work we are all very familiar with today would have been dismissed as “woo woo” by many in the business world. As we understand science and our brains more, these attitudes are slowly changing.

We can’t all be positive all the time, that’s an unachievable goal, but we can put in the steps to be better and to aim to be as positive as possible. And it’s these steps I will be covering this week. 

As leaders in business, employees look to us as an example of how to behave, perform and conduct themselves and no more so when it comes to attitude, we set that tone from the top down. 

I love the saying ‘People won’t remember what you said or did, they’ll remember how you made them feel’ – Maya Angelou. It is so apt for us managers and HR folk; we do a lot and achieve a lot but if we don’t engage our people along the way, what is the point? The more our people are engaged, the more ‘easy’ things are and the better productivity we have.

So, what can you do to become a positive leader? Here’s a few suggestions to consider: 

  • Be future focused
  • Give recognition more than criticism – think about how often you dish praise out
  • Seek opportunities in every day to improve – we all should be learning and developing
  • Be solution focused not problem based – someone once told me a good leader spends 5% of focus/time on the problem and 95% on the solution!
  • Focus on the positives, even in a bad situation

I’m such a believer in focusing on what has gone well in your day, rather than what didn’t. This doesn’t mean not learning from mistakes or taking the time to understand what went wrong in order to improve, but what it means is, not dwelling on the things that didn’t go so well, being able to shake things off and take the learnings and move on and this all comes with practice. Some people just dwell in or get stuck in the misery and we want to train our brains to search for the positives and be able to get on with things.

It’s harder than it looks, and I too have my ‘struggle’ days. Being a better leader starts with working on you personally first. If you’re a good leader, you’re constantly learning, you’re open to developing and acknowledging there will always be things to learn and that you’re going to get things wrong from time to time.

As well as my personal development, I love to practice gratitude each day. It helps to train your brain to stay in the positive more than the negative. It doesn’t have to be a huge moment for me, it’s either appreciating a moment over my morning coffee or spending 5 minutes to write down the 3 things I’ve been grateful for that day. Actually, one of my favourite things to do is to annoy my other half by asking him what three things he’s grateful for, just as he’s trying to get to sleep 😉

Meditation is also a great practice to start with and there are so many apps out there now to help with these. I often go to sleep listening to a meditation – fill yourself up with positive vibes before you drift off!

When we feel good internally, we’re more likely to feel positive on the outside. Changing habits isn’t easy and will take time and practice to adopt, my advice is always start small and build it up, never deprive yourself of a day to wallow if you need it, we all need it from time to time, just don’t stay there. The more you practice positive actions and mindset work, the more natural they’ll become. Enjoy!

What does it take to be a positive leader?