If you are a pessimist, then the only thing worse than dying young is living a long miserable life. Pessimistic leaders focus on faults, bad habits and failings within the team. While this allows them to evaluate where things have gone wrong, an essential element of leadership, it may lead to a lack of expectation of positive outcomes. This, in turn, causes team members to believe that while they will be reprimanded for making a mistake, they are unlikely to receive recognition for good work. Ultimately, this results in employees, especially millennials and Gen Z, feeling less of a personal stake in the outcome of business objectives. It can also cause low team morale and may even stimulate a blame culture within the group (Khazan, 2014).
On the other hand, if you can learn to boost optimism in the team, the results can be outstanding. Optimistic leaders experience more grit and better emotional resilience amongst their employees (Scott, 2019). So how can you become an optimistic leader?
Be Aware of the Shadow You Cast
As a leader, your mood has the power to influence those around you. While we are all human, and it is easy to let life get on top of us sometimes, it is vital that you remain aware of your impact on those in your team and that you always project an optimistic leadership style. When a leader’s mood is unpredictable, there tends to be less trust established between them and the team and this, as a result, can hinder productivity and organisational objectives.
In order to maintain an optimistic leadership style and a more positive atmosphere within the team, it is important to build personal resilience. Resilient leaders respond better to change and cope well under pressure. By devising a personal wellness strategy and pursuing this habitually, you will experience a rise in resilience which will allow you not only to showcase an optimistic leadership style, but a consistent one as well.
Trust Your Team
In addition to awareness and resilience, you must move away from any distrust with in your team. You should be satisfied that you believe in your team to produce results and achieve objectives for the group. This will allow you to lead optimistically while giving the team the benefit of the doubt, without considering the prospect that certain team members may not be giving their best.
As people, we all have good days and bad days. However, as leaders, if we want to achieve maximum potential from our team, we must harness the potential of the good days and project those throughout every day. Within a team, if the leader shows inconsistent mood swings and an unpredictable leadership style, it is difficult for the wider group to connect with their aspirations for the team and to fully support them. This week, let’s challenge ourselves to be mindful of pessimistic leadership and try to identify patterns within our own leadership style, so as we can build optimism within the team to ultimately boost productivity.