Who do you admire the most? When that person comes to mind, think of five qualities about that person and I’ll bet one of those characteristics is their positive attitude. We have a choice we can make every day about the attitude we will adopt and demonstrate. Will we let circumstances dictate our attitude, or can we resolve to be positive, regardless of our circumstances?
The attitude you exhibit not only helps you, it can empower others as well. Here are some ways in which a leader’s positive attitude can transform a team’s performance:
- Never make excuses– As a leader, people model what they see you do. If you are in the habit of making excuses for why you were not successful in accomplishing a task, project or obtaining your boss’s approval on an initiative, your team will model this behavior as well. Our plans don’t always work out as we intended. Making excuses about this establishes you as a whiner rather than a leader.
- Create a can-do environment where people are expected to solve their own problems– The most successful leaders establish an expectation with their team regarding problem solving. When a team member feels they are stuck on an issue, the expectation is for them to think of three or more alternative solutions prior to meeting with their boss.
This expectation encourages those on your team to think, rather than to delegate the problem up to you to solve.
- Challenge people to take ownership for their performance – Taking ownership means the person accepts full accountability and responsibility for their performance. If they were late on an assignment, they own their role in being late. If they fell short of the sales target, they take responsibility for their result.
Taking ownership eliminates excuse making or blaming other people or circumstances, and encourages innovative thinking to improve their performance.
- Provide solid and sincere feedback after team members try to tackle a challenge – You certainly expect results from your team. Occasionally, despite their best commitment to achieve, they will face a challenge which is too large for them to overcome. Or, the action to address a challenge is not the right one.
The successful leader will acknowledge the effort while helping coach the person or team to understand the learning they just received. More challenges will come in the future for sure. Solid and sincere feedback by you will go a long way to encourage their best efforts when that next challenge comes.
- Give people increasing challenges to contribute to their growth and development– Growth never happens within your comfort zone. Challenges are meant to provide us and those on our team to get out of their comfort zone, try some new methods, develop new resources, innovate and learn.
When those on the team meet the challenge with success, their skill develops, their self-confidence grows, and greater results are realized. This is a win-win-win for everyone.
All of the points made cannot happen unless you as the leader possess the positive attitude that is required to be sincere about these behaviors. How well are you empowering others? Does your attitude support or detract from empowering others as these points illustrate?
A growth-oriented attitude allows you to challenge every assumption and ask some of the following questions:
• Is there a better way to do what we do?
• What can we learn from others who do what we do?
• Who can help us do better in what we do?
• Are the current results they best we can do?
• Am I growing each year doing what I do?
• Are the members of my team growing each year doing what I lead them to do?
• How can I become better to help my team become better?
As always, I hope I have stimulated some reflective thinking on your part. Believe me, I have “not arrived” in all of these areas and I have work to do to improve. How about you? What areas have you identified as areas of growth and development?
If you are happy with the way things currently are, this is certainly your decision. Don’t be surprised however when you see people advancing beyond you and receiving greater opportunities.
PS – The content for this message has been taken from one of John Maxwell’s most recent books Developing The Leader Within You 2.0. John originally wrote a book by the same title 25 years ago. Over 80% of the content has been updated in this 2.0 edition, published this year. I will be conducting a virtual mastermind study of this book in the very near future. It will be a 10 week study with 60 minute sessions held weekly. If you are interested in learning more about this study, please contact me directly. You’ll be glad you did and so will your team!