Great leaders, whether in sports, politics, or industry are those who acknowledge the obstacles they face and exhort their teams, constituents or employees to take heart and face the future with courage and, yes, optimism.
The arrival of a new year is always inevitably accompanied by a surge of optimism. We’ll read more. We’ll eat better. We’ll drink less. We’ll exercise more. We’ll tackle those home projects we’ve been putting off for years (maybe we’ll finally be able to get a car into the overflowing garage). We are optimistic that we can and will change…for the better.
That said, the last two years have put a big dent in our collective optimism. The hardships we’ve experienced as a result of the pandemic have left us in a state of a fearful “What next?” rather than a cheerful “Can’t wait to see what’s next!” So, yeah, staying upbeat and positive is a challenge these days, but it’s one that we should embrace and work on. Why? Because optimism is good for both your mental health and for your business health!
During difficult times, people turn to their leaders for guidance on how to carry on. Great leaders, whether in sports, politics, or industry are those who acknowledge the obstacles they face and exhort their teams, constituents or employees to take heart and face the future with courage and, yes, optimism.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” was FDR’s inaugural rallying cry to a nation mired in the Great Depression. Historians agree that the president’s optimism and faith in the American people was a major part of his success as a leader.
In your business—whether large or small—optimism is a key leadership component that should not be overlooked. No one wants to work with someone who makes them feel anxious and depressed and company cultures are adversely affected by leadership’s outlook. Negativity begets more negativity but positivity, even when misguided, tends to energize and inspire.
Studies show that optimistic people work harder, are more creative problem solvers, and more tenacious in meeting their goals. It follows that having optimistic leaders and employees is part of the formula for a successful business.
So, in 2022, let’s strive to be optimistic despite the very real obstacles we face:
Emphasize the good. When assessing company or individual performance, make sure to lead with the positives and make clear to your staff or your coworkers that you believe things can and will get better.
Instead of berating your team for past failures, ask them to dig deep and do better. As Knute Rockne famously said, “Make the present good and the past will take care of itself.”
Task your team with creating positive goals for the coming year—whether personal or performance based. Ask them to assess themselves as objectively as possible and try to identify areas where they can turn their negativity around.
Have fun. Enjoying what you do pays dividends. As Dale Carnegie said, “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they’re doing.”
Here’s to a successful year for all of us!