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Why Positivity Is Important to Leaders


Tue Oct 15 2013

Why Positivity Is Important to Leaders

My recent book, Positive Leadership: The Game Changer at Work, provides key research-based principles that will help you to be a more effective leader. The book addresses questions such as, “What is positivity?” and “Why is positivity so important for leaders?”

Here is an excerpt:


Because of their power of authority, leaders are like Wi-Fi ‘hot spots’ you might find at places such as Panera or Starbucks. Such leadership hot spots broadcast a strong signal, which gets picked up by roaming wireless network connectors in the brains of followers. When leaders are far away, like our Wi-Fi connectors or cell phones, we only feel one or two ‘bars’ of reception. Their influence is not as strong. But when they’re close, raise their voices, or display emotion, our brains magnify their output; our ‘receptivity’ is five bars strong. It’s been said that leaders don’t have voices—they have megaphones or amplifiers. In fact, leaders set the weather (mood) of the workplace and over time can change the climate (personality) of the organization. Thus, working around a depressed leader can depress you.

Work around a positive leader, however, and you grow positive (Goleman, Boyatzis, & McKee, 2004). Positive leaders spread a mood of trust and openness, which can lead to creativity and cognitive ease—the ability to think without restraints and consider a number of options to solve important problems reflectively, rather than by overreacting (Kahneman, 2011). Psychologist and professor Barbara Frederickson at the University of North Carolina espouses a theory called ‘broaden and build.’ Agreeing that stress creates ‘tunnel vision’ that makes us vulnerable to huge judgment errors and mistakes, Frederickson’s broaden-and-build schema positivity creates a safe place and opens up the mind, which allows us to listen, learn, and solve problems better and faster.

Join me Tuesday, October 29 at 2:00 p.m. ET for a webcast on key research-based principles that will help you be a more effective leader.  Register now at http://webcasts.astd.org/webinar/893.

Read the T+D brief on Positive Leadership: The Game Changer at Work here.

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