Positive language and optimism in leadership

Ever worked with someone who always seems to have a reason why something cannot be done, won’t work, didn’t work, wouldn’t fit, does not make sense or any other similar phraseology?

Apart from having an impact on those around this approach has an impact on the wellness of the individual also.  Negativity, in whatever form – inflexibility, stubbornness, or refusing or holding fast on to something such as a process, procedure or idea is unproductive, unfulfilling and infectious, and can lead to a lethargy that ensures we remain in a “comfort zone”.

Staying in our comfort zone, as it suggests, is easy and familiar.  Coming out of that zone is unfamiliar, requiring effort, change in some cases and a desire to want to be more effective, to try the new or move into the unknown.  “Comfort zones are our default behaviour – our routines, habits and patterns.  Comfort zones are not necessarily comfortable, they are familiar.  They are what we know and they are ways we organise much of our lives”.   (The Bigger Game, Laura Whitworth, Rick Tamlyn)

Linking this thought to positive thinking and approach to different situations, a comfort zone is something that we do not necessarily see, rather it is “just the way we do things”.  It is our patterns of thought and behaviour. The key is being open to hear when someone challenges the way you do things or the way you are thinking at that moment.   In other words challenges your comfort zone.   Accepting that there might be another way to do it, does not necessarily mean choosing what is being suggested.  However, it does require that we examine that particular pattern and comfort zone and make a conscious decision as to whether it is serving where we want to be, where the organisation is going, on not.

Negativity, such as inability to listen – “I believe I am right”, avoiding accountability and responsibility, lack of energy to try, giving no support for something new, focusing on the past rather than the present, is simply a toxin that saps lifeblood from the person themselves, from the system, from the team and ultimately the organisation as a whole.  

In organisations, there are many reasons that can lead to a drain on positivity and motivation affecting general feelings of working in a “happy” work place?  Every one in the organisation needs to feel fulfilled.  Feeling fulfilled does not mean that life is easy.  Fulfilment can coexist in a challenging environment, when we are out of our comfort zone and when times require struggle. This means doing and being what is important to us, it means following our passion therefore effort put in is truly valuable and consequently fulfilling.  When something is valuable and fulfilling, we speak differently about the situation, creating positive patterns by focusing on the positive and not the negative.  When something is perceived as having no value we focus on the negative, feeling trapped with no way out.  The difference between the glass being half full or half empty!

Positive feelings and emotions, just like negative feelings and emotions are infectious, they spread into every cell in the body, into the team and into the lifeblood of the organisation.  

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