Setting Organizational Attitude and Tone
Circumstances don’t determine the atmosphere and tone of organizations, leaders do.
Look around your office or leadership team. Is the tone positive or negative? Now, look at yourself. How are you perceived?
Organizations reflect leadership.
Thursday, I reconnected with Shirzad Chamine, author of, Positive Intelligence. He reminded me that our “Sage” is a joyful, curious, explorer. I started thinking about fearful versus confident leadership.
Fearful vs. Confident:
Fearful leaders withdraw, limit, control, manipulate, and pressure others. Fearful leaders respond to challenges, opportunities, and problems pessimistically.
Confidence fuels optimism; fear fuels pessimism.
Tough circumstances test everyone, especially leaders. Hand-wringers set negative tones. On the other hand, denying tough times never inspires.
Leadership-optimism isn’t pretending everything’s okay. Confident leaders connect, inspire, and unleash. They explore with curiosity.
Inspirational leaders face tough times
with curiosity, exploration, joy, and confidence.
Leadership-attitude won’t solve tough times. It is, however, the way leaders establish tone and atmosphere in collaborative environments during challenging situations. Positive environments are built on positive attitudes, speech, and behaviors.
(Check out Soren Kaplan’s book, Leapfrogging, for more on optimism.)
What’s the difference between foolish and realistic optimism?
How can leaders set positive tones in organizations?
Fearful leaders narrows options and confident leaders broaden options. I also feel sometimes that fearful leaders work on making their safety net. And confident leaders widens boundary for everyone. I think foolish optimism is the one that does not hold any support. It is just uncontrolled expectation that leads to frustration later on. Realistic optimism is something that is based on logic, assumption and facts and figures.There is also some fragrance of gut in it. Leaders can get positive tone by doing. They should initiate first by being and doing. This will set a tone of positiveness.So, setting a positive tone is top down approach and generally done by leaders. I believe it is give and take philosophy. Leaders should make others feel what they want from their people. They should have right attitude towards before expecting from others.
Your challenge of looking and determining what kind of leadership is around you is spot on. The challenge of looking at yourself and determining what type of leader you are is much more difficult. When you look into a mirror you almost always see the positives first and only after time start to acknowledge the negatives, it is at that time you either say they’re not that bad and will go away or you start trying to correct them. It would be wonderful if coworkers could/would let people know how they perceive them yet many are either afraid to speak the truth or refuse to say anything negative.
“Confidence fuels optimism.” Love that. So true.
But I wonder if pessimism is always the result of fear…
I should think not. 🙂
Employers get the culture they deserve.
I am not so sure there is ‘foolish optimism’. I think that ‘hoping everything will be ok’ is not optimism at all … or if you wish … ok then ‘foolish optimism’. But they say that all successful leaders are optimists and I believe this, whether this is the leader who is optmisitic because she or he has a plan, believes in her own ability or simply knows that every setback will create an opportunity… for me that is optimism. The only time you fail is the last time you try.
Thanks for the blogs … love them
Using the terms “fearful” and “leadership” together are rather like an oxymoron to me. Being a leader almost belies the idea of being fearful. A fearful person in a leadership position is unlikely to be in that position very long.
I have worked for leaders who have very confident exteriors but who are fearful of losing control and trusting others. Sadly people like this can stay in leadership roles for entire careers. I am speaking from firsthand experience!