Leaders are charged with a number of things; guiding teams to achieve their objectives, inspiring them, resolving conflict and so much more. In today’s work places, leaders are also charged with creating a healthy workplace culture and one way to do this is to adopt the positive leadership model.
Positive leaders work to improve positive emotions in their employees. They also model positive behaviours that their teams can replicate. The focus with this leadership style isn’t only the professional development of employees, it also extends to helping them develop their personal abilities.
Being a more positive leader can yield more productive teams, higher job satisfaction and trust. Here are 10 tips to help you become a more positive leader.
Bring a sense of purpose to work
Salary, perks and promotions are great for morale but employees rank purpose from their jobs very highly too. Purpose gives people a reason to do what they do. The belief that their work benefits others is a strong predictor of meaningfulness in the workplace.
Being a more positive leader means being able to help your team see how they contribute to the bigger picture of the business and how their day to day tasks may contribute to the betterment of someone else’s life.
Show people that you care
A leader who cares checks in on employees, they have conversations and follow up on what matters to those they lead. If employees participate in an amateur soccer league after work or over the weekend, a leader who cares will ask them how the game went.
This same care extends to how you would deal with situations in the work place. If a mistake is made, a positive leader uses compassion and not blame to get to the bottom of it.
A positive leader also exhibits care when they give feedback to employees. Their feedback focuses more on an employees’ strengths, rather than on weaknesses.
According to the corporate leadership council, when a manager’s conversation focuses on an employee’s weaknesses, there is a decline in performance by about 36%. A focus on strengths on the other hand, increases performance by about 27%.
Be more optimistic
A cornerstone to being a more positive leader is to lead with optimism. Challenges will arise but you should be able to look for the silver lining. The ability to do so will assure your team and keep them going despite the most difficult situations.
In tough times, employees look to their leaders for how they too should behave. For instance, if a company were to report poor results for 3 consecutive quarters, it would demoralise staff. This would be the time for a positive leader to share a vision of a positive turn of events. Seeing that their leader is not beaten down would improve staff morale.
Being a more positive leader doesn’t mean ignoring negativity. Negative situations in the workplace can range from a bad experience with a client, inter personal conflicts among team members and bad reviews your business may have received.
Address negativity and give people the tools to deal with it head on and move on. To further empower your people, involve them in finding solutions around these negative aspects.
Being a more positive leader doesn’t mean being a push over or letting people get away with bad behaviour. A positive leader should emphasise good conduct and be able to call out the opposite of that when it crops up. In the long run, addressing any negativity will give way for open communication which you want in the workplace.
Attack problems, not people
There are leaders who believe that fear is the best way to motivate people. They blame and yell and create a high pressure work environment that is focused on results at all costs. This may work for some leaders but it is not the way of a positive leader.
Being a more positive leader means attacking problems and not people. Positive leaders are more focused on solving problems. They create space for dialogue and sharing ideas.
Empower your people
Empowering your team is part of being a more positive leader. Positive leaders encourage their teams and equip them to take on challenges. They make trainings available in order to build team members’ capacities. They lead with trust, delegate responsibilities and allow employees to come up with solutions and innovate.
Treat everyone with respect
Respect is a big part of being a more positive leader. Positive leaders show respect by listening to everyone, regardless of their position. They accommodate different viewpoints and are compassionate. Being respectful is one of the qualities that defines a good leader.
Being a more positive leader means being your authentic self with employees. Do not reserve a version of yourself for outside the office and create another persona while at work. Be authentic and this will build trust with your team. Employees are also more likely to model this behaviour and bring it to their interactions with each other.
In addition, an authentic is vulnerable enough to share their weaknesses. They are able to admit when they don’t know something and are able to ask for help.
Support your employees
To be a more positive leader, you need to support your employees. This means advocating for them in situations where they are not able to do it themselves, it means showing flexibility when they need it and speaking up to defend them.
In the service industry, it is often said that ‘The customer is always right’. However this shouldn’t be at the continued expense of the employees. A positive leader finds a way to support their employees even in situations with a disgruntled customer.
Express gratitude to employees for doing their work well and doing it consistently. Doing this and encouraging employees to do the same will create a culture of gratitude. It is said that gratitude begets gratitude and this can lead to a more positive workplace culture.
Positive leadership believes that the employee is the most important resource. Their wellbeing and growth are treated as a priority.
While some people have a more natural inclination to being a positive leader, it is not always inborn. Rather, it is a skill that can be nurtured. Following these tips can help you bring the benefits of positive leadership to your team and organisation.