Leaven Your Positive Leadership Outlook With Real-World Negativity – Pursue the Truth!
The “Power of Positive Thinking” is an extremely useful mantra in business. It fights against the doomsayers and the “that won’t work” reactionaries in every organization. Positive means progress, negative threatens progress. Which would you prefer to emphasize when creating a productive workplace?
But you cannot be too “Pollyana” about your positive outlook and upbeat interpersonal behavior. Our own mantra of adopting a “forward thinking and action-oriented mindset” does not distinguish between positive and negative. It emphasizes only constructive thinking.
Talent Management Magazine just published another perspective that echoes this theme: Negative thinking, as long as it is forward-looking and action-oriented, has a strong role to play in effective business decision-making.
Our own “pursuit of truth” leadership mindset also supports the power of challenging ideas in the real world, and not wishing away difficulties just to “stay positive.”
Situational assessments that underlie a leader’s decision-making process must take account of all possible outcomes, good, middling and bad, in order to make the soundest decision about how to move forward. Willfully ignoring bad news that might call for a more cautious path is poor leadership. Relentless emphasis on finding the best in each situation is not sound decision-making methodology!
The Talent Magazine article author Eric Short quotes Oliver Burkeman, author of “The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking,” who considers negative thinking the most effective problem-solving strategy:
“Focusing on the worst-case scenario is a way to deal with anxiety,” Burkeman said. “If you prepare for the things that go wrong or focus carefully on failures, you will succeed more. It is not so much deliberately thinking a negative thought as it is more about actively focusing on bad scenarios.”
Great leadership is founded on how you respond to good and bad events in your team’s professional environment. If you scheme for multiple eventualities, you are better prepared to respond constructively to negative events.
*Event + Response = Outcome. You cannot control events, but you can control how you respond to those events. Your response is how you keep your focus on your desired outcomes. How must you change your plan to accommodate the fact of the new event, and chart a fresh course to the same desired outcome of your initiative?