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A Simple Practice that Yields Disproportionate Advantage

“Half the leaders I have met don’t need to learn what to do. They need to learn what to stop.” Peter Drucker

Bad is an erasure. One dingbat behavior erases many noble behaviors.

Disproportionate advantage:

Negative behaviors and experiences are 3X or 5X more powerful than positive. (The Power of Bad)

You might be great at strategy, but anger will lower your ability to influence teams. Since bad is stronger than good…

Disproportionate advantage comes when you eliminate negative behaviors.

Sincere dingbats repeat ineffective behaviors. When dingbats realize things aren’t working, they pedal faster.

Top 7 dingbat-leader practices:

  1. Exasperating good people.
  2. Falling in love with the sound of your voice.
  3. Defensive responses to feedback. (You don’t do everything well.)
  4. Leaving people to themselves. (Isolation.)
  5. Hanging with power-people and ignoring colleagues and team members.
  6. Walking around like you actually do the work. (Arrogance.)
  7. Allowing darkness to overshadow optimism. (Pessimism, nay-saying, and constant complaining.)

Continue useful leadership habits and stop at least one dingbat-practice.

Stop pessimism (#7 dingbat behavior):

“Life inflicts the same setbacks and tragedies on optimists as on the pessimist, but the optimist weathers them better.” Martin Seligman

Pessimists are more accurate than optimists. Obstacles emerge. Gains dissolve. The path forward is difficult.

Pessimism says huddle and protect.

Pessimists believe bad is:

  1. Permanent. (Things never change.)
  2. Pervasive. (Everyone, no one, always.)
  3. Personal. (It’s my fault.)

Optimism overcomes inertia.

Two steps to optimism:

#1. Practice optimism by shifting the above 3P’s.

#2. Practice optimism with disputation.

Dispute pessimistic conclusions.

“This is the worst.” Yes, it’s bad. Is it the worst? No!

“We’re never going to move forward,” is an overblown lie.

“Learned optimism works not through an unjustifiable positivity about the world but through the power of non-negative thinking.” Selegman

What should leaders STOP doing? What’s one thing you should stop?

How might pessimistic leaders practice optimism?

Bonus material:

Learned optimism assessment (Stanford)

15 Traits of a Terrible Leader (Success)

Are Optimists or Pessimists Better Leaders (Forbes)

Stop Punching Yourself in the Face: 13 Self-Defeating Behaviors to Avoid (Leadership Freak)

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