This is part 3 in a series on positive and negative thinking. To start at the beginning, click here.
Optimism feels good, doesn’t it? It’s a grand view that things aren’t likely to go wrong, and even if they do, we can figure it out. It’s care-free, happy-go-lucky, cheerful, jovial and even jaunty. There is no anxiety or fear. It moves ahead, and with a smile. It kills stress and replaces it with comfort.
People need optimism.
I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.
– Winston Churchill
Success will always require that you lead others. Maybe it’s from your title, maybe your experience, or maybe your insight, but leadership is what most likely got you that level of success to begin with. Remember, as John Maxwell says, “Leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less.” You influence others for a myriad or reasons, and that influence will always lead to success.
People won’t follow pessimism, however.
Optimism plays an important part in leadership. It’s human nature to want to follow someone who makes them feel good and tells them everything will turn out better for them. They want to know that this plan will benefit them and, for the most part, don’t want to know if it will be difficult. To lead others, you must give them what they need, because they’ll look to you for it. Most people can’t muster optimism on their own. For that very same reason, most people can’t function under the fear and anxiety that optimism is so great at getting rid of.
Optimism at it’s extreme, however, is a thing to caution against. A leader who is so positive that reality escapes them can be toxic to your team. When people believe that you’ve lost touch with reality, thew will no longer follow your lead (and there might be some whispers about you being crazy). Remember, reality can often be less than happy, and it’s important for a leader to recognize that.
In the next part of the series, we’re going to go over the role pessimism plays in success. And, yes, there really is a space for it. Tune in tomorrow to find out where.
View the rest of the series:
- Part 1 – Pessimistic Optimism
- Part 2 – What’s in an Outlook?
- Part 3 – Nothing But Smiles
- Part 4 – Bottling the Storm
- Part 5 – Both Sides of the Coin