The Five Components of Negative Leadership

Paychecks buy compliance, but no one is energized by negative leadership.

Uncertainty and insecurity give birth to some of the most negative aspects of leadership. You end up with toxicity when you stir in pessimism, ungratefulness, and scarcity.


leadership expands when you open your heart and your hands

5 components of negative leadership:

  1. Pessimism.
  2. Ungratefulness.
  3. Scarcity.
  4. Uncertainty.
  5. Insecurity.

Get real:

Small doses of pessimism, uncertainty, and insecurity add spice to leadership. A little self-doubt, for example, keeps leaders open. The danger is circling the darkness.

1 word – 7 components:

Some of the most honorable aspects of leadership are captured in one word, openness. You see openness when you see:

  1. Generosity.
  2. Availability.
  3. Transparency.
  4. Flexibility.
  5. Gratitude.
  6. Respect.
  7. Optimism.

You shrink every time you close your heart, but leadership expands when you open your heart and your hands. 

Positive leadership:

Openness breeds optimism, the belief that – with diligent effort – progress is possible. There’s nothing frivolous about leadership optimism.

Don’t turn from challenges, obstacles, and problems. Lean forward in the face of relentless winds.

Language of optimistic leadership:

  1. We can make this better. The pursuit of excellence is persistently reaching for the next level.
  2. We can solve this problem. Optimism isn’t about pretending things are better than they are.
  3. We can face this challenge. Teams rise up when respected leaders ask, “How can we take this to the next level?”

Optimists focus on ‘we can’. Pessimists focus on ‘we can’t’.

Optimists turn toward opportunity. Pessimists circle problems.

An open culture:

Of all the things leaders do, creating an open environment may be the most useful.

  1. Morning greetings. Walk the halls noticing people. “Have a great day.”
  2. Midday curiosity.
    • “How might I help you succeed?”
    • “What’s holding you up?”
    • “How might I remove an obstacle?”
  3. Afternoon gratitude. Say thank you before team members go home. Celebrate success.
  4. Daily conversations about goals and performance. “What are you doing to reach your goals?”

Courage stays open. Fear pulls back.

How might leaders practice openness?