Getting to grips with the psychology of positive leadership
The psychology of leadership simply fascinates me, and no more so than when leaders have a positive influence on their team. You may not class yourself as a leader, but you are a leader, whether you’re leading a team, a family or even yourself. In your role, as a leader, the energy you emit is vital, and cannot fail to affect yourself and others.
Positive psychology sounds like another fad or for those of us chronic doomsayers, just plain “Pollyanna”. We all know the world we see has positive and negative energy. The question I have been asked on occasions is “By being positive, aren’t we just lying to ourselves?” Another concern centres on being authentic. ”Surely being positive constantly can’t be authentic, because bad things happen”.
Be a force for good
Well, actually I do believe you can be a positive force, in all types of situations. If you want to lead people in the right direction, here are 7 uncommon ways you can be a positive influence on yourself and others.
7 ways to be a good influence
1. Respond instead of reacting
Someone says something negative about you or something you value. Immediately you want to give a stinging reply, rush to your own defence or complain to others. Worse, you actually take the criticism on board. Haven’t we all been in that situation? Pausing to regain your composure and objectivity in such situations is vital before you reply. Pausing to think gives you an opportunity to respond instead. Response instead of reaction means you take the emotional charge out of the situation, incident or problem. It is a great opportunity to turn towards positivity and win/win.
2. Remain neutral and objective
Life is indeed difficult. There are good times and bad. Leading with positive influence means you navigate your way through the peaks and troughs, with hope and optimism. When the facts, which present themselves, seem to daunt, then you will command a positive influence if you remain neutral and objective as opposed to blaming, emotional and subjective.
3. Own your emotions
Being a positive force doesn’t mean you have to deny your own negative emotions, in fact, it means you get in touch with them with a view to healing them. Too often people will blame other people for how they are feeling, but everyone’s emotions are their own. No one can make anyone else feel anything. Owning your emotions means you do not make anyone else responsible for you. It also means the power is in your hands, to take any situation, look on the bright side and change how you feel.
4. Be glad for others
Being glad for others for most of us is quite easy. It’s great to see people doing well. Showing you’re glad means actively helping them to celebrate their successes. When someone gets that qualification or loses that 6lb, find a way to help them celebrate. Buy a bunch of flowers or send that card, or take the time to drop an email, pop your head around the door and tell them “Well done”. Too often in our fast-paced lives, even though we may be glad for others, we fall short of showing we are.
5. Help people find their strength
When people’s lives are in the troughs rather than the peaks then, it’s time to concentrate on their strengths, and everyone has some strength. The trick here is to feel compassion for how they feel and to be there for them, but not to join in with blaming others, cultivating a victim mentality or disempowering them from their own inner coping mechanism. It is through painful situations people have an opportunity to find their strength and a positive influence knows and gently encourages this.
6. Choose happiness
Happiness is a choice. Every piece of information you process can be interpreted in a million ways. If you choose to interpret the information in a way which makes you sad, then it’s simply a choice you have made. Things happening around you do not determine your state, only you do. You have the choice, why not choose happiness instead. People who choose to be happy are a joy to be around. They raise energy and raise spirits, which can only positively influence all around them.
7. Intend your day
When you know you have a tricky meeting or a difficult time coming up; then it’s time to begin intending your day. Intending your day or meeting or event is extremely powerful. Instead of worrying about the content, think about the outcome. So, for example, you have a difficult meeting with your boss. Imagine it will be positive despite the difficulties, and imagine yourself feeling really pleased that you handled it so well. You will be amazed at the difference intending positive outcomes can make. When you intend great and positive outcomes day to day, then your energy impacts greatly on everyone around you.
Are you being a positive influence today?