Pessimists Can’t Lead: 7 Ways to Find Optimism

Don’t imagine you energize others by reminding them they fall short.

Negative leaders bring up opportunities in ways that make people feel like losers. “You should have been doing this all along.” 

Pessimists suggest there’s something wrong with you, when they say what they want.

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Pessimistic leaders:

  1. Use what they don’t want to explain what they want.
  2. Use what they don’t like to explain what they like.
  3. Bristle when you point out their negativity. They’re trying to help. Negative leaders believe cold water ignites flames. It makes people try harder.
  4. Believe success is found by not failing. Negative leaders love saying, “I don’t want you to fail.”

If you’re a leader, the possibility of failure is always on your mind.

Challenge: Try going a whole day without saying what you don’t want and don’t like.

Preventing failure:

Leaders stabilize organizations by preventing failure and protecting gains.

Warren Buffet prevents failure when he says, “Rule #1: Never lose money.”

Preventing failure, by itself, doesn’t produce stunning success. You must seize opportunity.

Finding optimism:

Successful leaders instill hope, not discouragement.

  1. Find gratitude. Make a gratitude-list for every teammate. Write five things they’ve done that inspire gratitude. Share your points of gratitude.
  2. Find praise. Never allow weaknesses to overshadow character and strength. Make a praise-list for every teammate. Write five praiseworthy qualities by each name. Say them in public.
  3. Find the future, not the past, when exploring new opportunities. A negative past doesn’t build a positive future. Think about where you’re going more than where you’ve been.
  4. Find courage. Fear is an opportunity for courage. What will you do to answer fear. The operative word is “do.”
  5. Find competence. The future is built on things they can do, not things they can’t. 
  6. Find what you like and let yourself enjoy it.
  7. Find small steps forward. 

Leadership requires optimism. Pessimists can’t lead.

What are the marks of pessimistic leadership?

How might leaders find optimism?

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