“Be a light, not a judge. Be a model, not a critic. Be part of the solution, not the problem.” – Stephen Covey
It’s easy, especially in chaotic times like ours, to have a sour attitude about things. Most people are tired, or stressed, or tired and stressed, and everything in life looks worse when we feel that way. Uncertainty, while always there, seems to jump up and punch us in the face these days, and that can be an instant blocker on positivity.
Part of the reason it’s so easy to think and feel down is because it’s contagious. We are constantly being bombarded with reminders of how we should be nervous, or how bad everything is all the time, or how nothing in the history of the world has ever been this bad before. Some people profit off of our fear and negativity, and right now, business is good.
We can’t, especially as leaders, allow ourselves to be constantly searching for the down side of everything we see. When someone comes to us with an idea, our first reaction can’t be why that won’t work, or why that’s bad. We can’t be a human rainstorm that’s permanently parked over someone’s parade.
I’m not suggesting that we pretend everything’s great when it’s not, or that there aren’t real struggles going on, or that we aren’t faced with real, serious, major challenges. We absolutely are, and we need to be authentic about that.
But we still have to lead. If every time someone has an idea the leader knocks it right down, pretty soon there won’t be much for new ideas. If every time change is a possibility the leader prevents it from happening, pretty soon you’ll have a business that is stale. If you as the leader are always looking down instead of up, pretty soon, everyone else in the organization will be too.
Spend the next week listening to yourself talk. What is your initial reaction? How do you respond to ideas or change? The best people want to be part of an organization with energy and enthusiasm, and nothing kills those things faster than negativity from leadership.
Pay attention to the words you use, the tone with which you speak, even your facial expressions. The leader’s response (to just about anything) sets the tone in an organization. How people feel about their work is, to a large degree, a function of your attitudes and behaviors. Make sure you’re sending the right message.