Top 5 Strategies for Developing Leadership Optimism

Sep 07 2009 | Tags: Leadership, Emotional Intelligence

Top 5 Strategies for Developing Leadership Optimism

Optimism is perhaps the most important quality you can develop to achieve greater success as a leader. Generating scores almost one standard deviation above the average in all of our leadership studies, optimism differentiates high performing leaders from the rest.

Emotional Capitalists look on the brighter side of life and sense opportunities even in the face of adversity. The brain’s expectation system releases a sense of anticipation as soon as we set a goal, and we experience triumph when we reach it. Thus, optimistic activity of this kind almost always leads to positive feelings. Optimistic people are also resilient. They often have a history of significant failures, losses and bitter disappointments but display a remarkable ability to bounce back. But if we give in to negative emotions, like disappointment or sadness, we not only fail to ease them, we reinforce them.

Repeated emotions- like joy or sadness- act like drops of water on a rock. Each one evaporates quickly, but over time many drops carve out a channel.

Fortunately, it is not only negative emotions that can become entrenched with regular use- optimism, too can become a habit.

Five Strategies

  1. Look for the benefit in every situation
  2. Seek the valuable lesson in every problem or difficulty – remember there are no mistakes, only lessons
  3. Focus on the task to be accomplished rather than your negative emotions, such as disappointment or fear, and see the possibilities within the task
  4. View success and happiness as your normal state and see negative elements as temporary glitches on the path to your inevitable progress
  5. Decatastrophise and ask yourself: ‘What’s the worst thing that could happen, and can I live with it?’ Then focus on doing everything you can to minimise the fallout.

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