Former Red Sox third baseman Wade Boggs once said, "A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results."
As a leader, your role is to cause that chain reaction of positive attitude in others. Here are three ways extraordinary leaders do just that:
* Focus on possibilities. Okay, I know that sounds a little like one of those ubiquitous leadership posters, but a positive attitude begins with hope. In any given day there are any number of things that can happen – the impossible, the probable, or the possible.
The impossible is negative. The probable is neutral. The possible is positive. It's aspirational. It's exciting. It's something to reach for. It's possible to achieve 125% of goal. It's possible to make every customer smile. It's possible to double a particular product’s sales today. Begin the day/shift with the possible. This allows you the most time to make it so.
* Praise regularly. I was talking last week with a retailer who has a terrible turnover in one of her stores. After discussing the possible reasons, it became clear to both of us that the staff felt underappreciated.
More important, the staff wasn't being recognized for their efforts and right actions, since the management team only focused on where the store was falling short. I know one thing. A store without praise rarely has a sustainable positive attitude, and as Wade Boggs points out, that's the catalyst to creating extraordinary results.
* Engage and involve the team. I once was asked to help a manager who had a horrible morale problem in his store. I soon learned why his store was in trouble. He ran the store with an iron fist. His favorite staying was, "This is not a democracy." To which I responded, "You're right. It's not. But believe me, people have a say and a vote on whether the store is successful or not. Employees vote with their actions, which ultimately determines results."
I have seen plenty of managers and owners who call themselves leaders, but who in fact have no followers. Real leadership is an exercise in working together to create a common outcome.
Brainstorm with the staff on ideas before deciding what to do. Ask for their opinion when facing a challenge. Most people are okay if you don't always do what they suggest, but very few have a positive attitude when they know they're never heard.
So let me ask, is your attitude creating a positive spark that creates positive thoughts, events and outcomes? Try doing this. List three actions you can take this week to create an even bigger and more successful chain reaction. It starts with leadership. It starts with you.