Positive leadership is not reserved or acquired only by persons with important titles.
Think about experiences in your own life that motivated you to challenge your own goals. Reflect on events that inspired you to view your world in a more positive way.
If we recall examples from life’s experiences, we will see references to supervisors, parents, teachers, and others who created an environment of well-being. We will also see co-workers, siblings, classmates, and even strangers who energize us to think and feel more positive about the time and place that tie us to those uplifting moments.
Each person who boosted your morale, bolstered your spirit, and energized your commitment to a cause demonstrated positive leadership behavior.
In the workplace, the importance of fostering an environment of well-being by means of positive leadership finds support in empirical studies. Pressure to perform and goal-related stress assume desirable outcomes. But the “drive them hard” approach comes at a high cost. Low morale, time lost to sick days, high turnover and an absence of loyalty are costs for operating a high pressure environment.
An article published in the Harvard Business Review cites the results of several studies on the negative impact of cut-throat competitive places. “Proof that Positive Work Cultures are More Productive” written by Emma Seppala and Kim Cameron offer quantitative evidence that individual firms and the economy as a whole forfeit significant levels of employee productivity and engagement.
As discussed at length in the Role of the Supervisor workshop and outlined in the associated webinar series, a manager sets the tone for the culture of the organization through his or her mannerisms and behaviors. Team members respond to supervisory direction. Each person assesses the relative contribution of the supervisor’s leadership and respond with engagement when the evaluation itself is positive.
What does positive attitude look like in the workplace? What does it feel like? How does a manager create an organizational culture that people recognize as a healthy work environment – physically and emotionally. How does leadership behavior improve productivity, lower staff attrition, and augment customer loyalty?
Positive Leadership Workshop
In the Positive Leadership workshop, we identify critical elements that organizational well-being thrives in. They include:
- Self Esteem - Confidence in one’s ability to contribute to the group’s objectives must reside within each of the team’s members. Success fosters a “can-do” attitude and strengthens the foundation to accept new challenges. Persons are more likely to leave their comfort zone when they believe they have accomplished much and can do much more. As a group, the team feels as if they can achieve all goals.
- Building Esteem - Supervisors and co-workers acting alone and in tandem can raise the confidence and capability of other team associates. This is a crucial aspect of the leader’s approach to mentoring techniques that associates observe and model in their own supportive styles. There is a feeling that everyone cares about the tasks at hand and about each other.
- Positive Reinforcement - When a particular behavior is followed by a positive outcome, we are more likely to repeat the behavior. A crucial component of leadership awareness is understanding what behaviors you reinforce with your own. Are you reinforcing the behaviors you really want the employee to adopt?
- Positive Feedback - Notice good work and make employees know that you care. Positive feedback may take different forms, spoken or written for example. Develop a method. When staff accomplish noteworthy contributions, be prepared to let them know in a professional and heart-felt manner.
- Basic Principles of Recognition - There are effective ways to acknowledge positive contributions. One is to make feedback consistent in style and frequency to develop a feeling of trust and fairness within the group. Another to recognize the achievement and make it abundantly clear that you sincerely care. One of the oft-quoted remarks by Teddy Roosevelt points to the essence of positive leadership. He said, “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care".
Positive Leadership consists of traits, characteristics and actions that are at least motivational and at times even inspirational. Managers and supervisors can transform standard expectations into extraordinary achievements through their approach to the work, to the processes, and most importantly to the staff who attend to the delivery of the team’s primary objectives.