As the co-author of Edge! A Leadership Story, and the President of Writers of the Round Table Inc., I often blog about leadership. Yesterday, we were on a call with our client Dr. Kay Vogt, a family business advisor, working on the storyline for her upcoming book, The Family Business. Our discussion centered around something that hit very close to home with me and that is attitude. When you’re building something–a company, an organization, a team, a brand–there are always an unlimited number of reasons not to press on. The obstacles often feel so numerous that they seem impossible to overcome. And yet we build anyway, and the entity grows because we focus not on these reasons why it will not work, but rather on the reasons it must work. And those reasons are all related to how the entity will affect people, change lives, and better the world.
Great leaders have to focus on the positives in order to do their job well, in order to inspire; because it is from that place of inspiration, where the magic happens and obstacles are overcome with creativity and ingenuity never before imagined. The capability of mankind to find solutions and overcome challenges is absolutely mind blowing. But we cannot do it from a place of fear. Fear and anxiety are the enemies of creativity. They actually shut down portions of the brain that would otherwise be effective.
The last seven years with the current administration has been one of anxiety and fear, which has stifled the country. We have some of the most brilliant minds on the planet, but the country as a whole is working from fear. To me, this is what makes Barack Obama such an appealing candidate. Last night when I heard him speak in Minnesota–as I have often heard him speak throughout his campaign–he brings integrity and honor to the political process. He applauds his opponent Hillary Rodham Clinton for making him a better candidate for competing with him. He honors John McCain’s service record. He comes from a positive perspective that honors those around him and his platform is one of possibility. As a business owner, I understand first hand, that when I take responsibility for creating a positive environment within my company, the people who surround me feel they are coming to work to play each day. This is an environment where people spring out of bed, excited for what they are going to create next. Conversely, when I come from a place of fear and anxiety and spread that to my team, they dread the day ahead of them, and they give all of their energy to just get to the end of the day so they can get home and relax. Who would you rather be–an employee dreading the day, or thrilled to be part of something?
When a leader instills fear–nothing feels possible and therefore few people rise to the challenge. When a leader has a positive attitude and helps the people to believe–anything is possible and miracles happen. A positive leader, with an amazing attitude will fall on his face more, will take greater risks, will challenge the people to LIVE everyday, and the people will LOVE life for the roller coaster it is. Such a leader is worth their weight in gold. They build better companies, faster teams, stronger countries. Attitude is everything. Consider yours.