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Leading With Optimism

If you had to define a leader, what would you say?

If you’re like most people, you might describe a leader as someone who is trustworthy, passionate and focused. And while these are all important qualities to have in a leader, there is one important quality missing–optimism.

Optimism is an incredibly advantageous quality to have in a leader.

If you’re wondering why then you’re in the right place as we’re about to list five reasons why optimists make the best leaders.

Optimists focus on solutions

Optimists seek to solve problems and improve the situation they’re in. They focus on finding a solution to the problem rather than fixating on the issues surrounding the problem.

When attempting to resolve an issue optimistic leaders ask, “what’s needed?” rather than “what’s wrong?” This solution-based approach promotes creativity and innovative thinking, which are important skills to have when leading an organization.

As leaders, optimists are also able to help their team respond and adapt to difficult or changing circumstances.

Optimists are not afraid of failure

As Winston Churchill once said, “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

The fear of failure can impede even the greatest leaders. It may cause them to delay important decisions or even miss out on ground-breaking opportunities.

Optimistic leaders, however, live without this fear. They are risk-takers and are comfortable making tough decisions. They accept the possibility of failure and view it as an opportunity to learn and make progress.

Their behaviours are infectious

Just like someone’s bad mood can rub off on you, positivity, too, can spread.

A study conducted by Harvard University and the University of California confirmed that happiness spreads through social interactions. They found that when people are surrounded by happy people, they too become happy.

If what they’re saying is true and happiness is in fact contagious, wouldn’t you want your leader to be an optimist?

Optimists see the big picture

Have you heard of the recency effect? It’s a cognitive bias that causes individuals to base their decisions and opinions on the last idea or argument they heard. This way of thinking may hinder our decision-making and prevent us from seeing the big picture.

Optimists, however, lack this bias and are able to make sound decisions with a full understanding of the situation. This is an important quality that all leaders should demonstrate so that they can assure staff that nothing is ever as bad as it seems.

Value collaboration

Collaboration is critical for any workplace. It reduces turnover, boosts productivity and increases employee engagement.

And you know who values collaboration? Optimists.

Optimists love to seek others’ thoughts and opinions before making decisions. They also like to openly share information and knowledge with others so that they can participate in the decision-making process. 

They tend to view leadership not as a position of command, but rather as one where all ideas and opinions are welcome.

Tom Chopp is Managing Partner at SWS Warning Lights Inc. He can be reached at 905-357-0222 or tom@warninglightsinc.com

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