Think Positive and Achieve

One of the biggest challenges for leaders, particularly newer ones, is to remain positive in the face of inevitable setbacks. So many things happen that can derail us from what we are trying to achieve, such as changing market conditions, weak sales figures, low worker productivity or morale, and more. Leaders who begin with great optimism and energy could easily lose the wind from their sails and spiral into a downward funk when they start to experience obstacles, setbacks and self-doubt. Compounding matters is that many of us can be overly harsh and unjust to ourselves, in a way that we would never be with others. This can cause stress and despondency, resulting in lower self-confidence.

One way that leaders can help themselves to see beyond the moment is to engage in positive thinking.  This means that you believe that the best is going to happen in every situation rather than the worst. Positive thinking helps you to approach unpleasantness in a more productive way and deal with the things that must be attended to so that you can move forward as quickly as possible.

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Know Your Why

In a moving video talk, comedian Michael Jr. describes the power of knowing your “why.” In it, he showed an audience a clip from a different event, in which he asked a member of that audience to sing the opening stanzas from “Amazing Grace.” The gentleman, a music teacher, began in a deep baritone and sang the refrain flawlessly.

After praising his performance, the comedian asked the teacher to do it again, but this time painted a scenario of true appreciation, such as a family member being released from prison. Not surprisingly, the second performance far outshone the first. This time, the song was performed with added feeling and emotion. The words were more animated and the tone was deeper and richer. Michael Jr. concluded that, “When you know your ‘why’ then your ‘what’ has more impact, because you’re working towards your purpose.”

Leadership expert Simon Sinek calls this “the golden circle.” He says that it’s not enough to know what you do and how you do it. At our essence, we are most motivated by knowing why we do things. And it’s through that awareness that we can best connect with and sell to others.

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The importance of building trust

Leaders in all contexts must build trust in order to achieve their goals. In fact, some, like business consultant Cynthia Olmstead, maintain that the fundamental difference between the enterprises and change initiatives that succeed and those that fail depends largely on whether there is a meaningful degree of trust within the organization. People in high-trust relationships communicate well, don’t second guess one another, understand why they are doing things, and are willing to go the extra mile to ensure that goals are met. In the words of Stephen R. Covey, “When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.”

But what exactly is trust? For many of us, it’s one of those “feel” terms that are hard to define. Of course, if we lack a common definition of the term, we can’t really come to discuss it, let alone seek to create it in our workplaces.

In essence, trust is a feeling of security that you have, based on the belief that someone or something is knowledgeable, reliable, good, honest, and effective. At the least, there exists a meaningful combination of some of these attributes. When applied to human relationships, trust develops when people interact and like the results, in terms of the quality of what they get (information, service, companionship, etc.) and the way in which it is presented and/or delivered.

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