Leadership is a long and never ending journey. A journey of learning, via successes and failures, imitation and study topped off by your own stamp of leadership style and DNA.
We are all familiar with the typical qualities required of the senior leader – vision, decisiveness, the ability to handle crises and integrity to name just a few.
But what about the emerging leader? The behaviours and attributes required of potential leaders are different. They include things such as:
- Self confidence
And the characteristic that underpins this list is positivity.
It is easy to get cynical when we are operating in the complex world of a large company with its tendency for political infighting, changing priorities and resource restrictions. But the ability to maintain a positive outlook is fundamental and will not go unnoticed in the journey to the top.
How can emerging leaders demonstrate a positive outlook?
Here are four ways:
- Offer suggestions for solutions rather than focusing on the problem. Yes, it is important to know we are tackling the ‘right’ problem but beyond that, bosses want to hear about solutions.
- Respond to new ideas with a positive attitude rather than looking at the negative side of those ideas. Instead of exploring the opportunities that new ideas can provide, many people fall into the trap of pointing out all the risks and problems thinking they are smart by acting this way. It takes much more courage to propose alternatives
- Take measured risks. Successful leaders who reach the top never ‘played it safe’.We learn by taking risks and going the extra mile and we gain respect by doing so.
- Volunteer for suitable projects. The wise, emerging leader will be proactive and volunteer for projects that showcase their strengths rather than waiting to be assigned a project that nobody else wants.
Being positive is a discipline that can be learned. So learn not to complain,not to gossip and not to point out the negatives. Bring solutions to the table, not problems. And remember to smile!
At the end of the day real leaders have followers, in fact, that is what distinguishes leaders from managers. And followers want to follow positive leaders who make them feel inspired and motivated to accomplish the vision.
It is never too soon to pay attention to positivity.