Leaders face a lot of issues but one thing they will struggle with is sometimes staying positive.
Being a leader is all about balance. You have to be mindful and quick, slow and steady, take risks, have vision, listen but speak, know but question—and do it all with grace.
It goes without saying that challenges come with the territory. One of the most overwhelming, for many leaders, is the struggle to stay positive in the face of a demanding position. Fighting negativity is a distraction that keeps lots of leaders from their best work.
How can you stay positive in a negative world? Here are some strategies that have worked for others:
Let go of perfectionism. The worst thing you can do for yourself is get stuck in the mindset that things need to be perfect. The best leaders, those who are most successful, know that nothing is every perfect, and if we expect perfection we’re setting ourselves up for failure. Focus on being positive instead of being perfect.
Create an inner circle of positive people. Leadership can mean being in a lonely position, but having good people around you—trusted souls you can talk to and lean in to, people who will help you find positive solutions—is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.
Healthy body, happy mind, happier heart. The best way to keep yourself from drowning when everything around you seems to be sinking is to keep your body healthy and your thoughts happy. It’s easy to be become bogged down when you’re surrounded by negativity; it takes energy and good health to keep on top of mind, body, and spirit.
Give more to stay positive. No one remains unhappy by giving. Challenging yourself to give more may seem like the last thing you would think to do when things are tough, but the more you give, the happier you will be—whether it’s the worst of times or the best of times. Giving has a way of canceling out the worst days, the biggest challenges, and the most arduous circumstances.
Make a plan and set goals. The worst thing you can do when everything around you is overwhelming is to flail around and respond to circumstances as they happen without a governing strategy. Instead, create a plan and start setting goals. Simply having a goal to work toward can create positive energy. Start small and keep a steady focus on moving forward and accomplishing great things.
Encourage others to get through the tough stuff. Studies show that making other people happy is a significant source of happiness. If you can stay focused on empowering and motivating others, you can feel good about yourself and be strong when things are not going so well. It’s a win-win.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. What’s big today can be small tomorrow; what’s urgent today may find a way of working itself out. When everything around you is falling apart and it’s hard to stay positive, remind yourself how the big stuff can become small stuff and small stuff can become insignificant.
Remember that this too shall pass. As we know, everything changes—nothing is ever the same, everything is always evolving and changing. So when times are really tough and you find yourself being pulled down into negativity, remind yourself that this too shall pass. Keep your wits about you and try to stay positive, because the solution you need may be right around the corner.
You don’t have to do it alone. Get the help and support you need by sharing your issues with someone who’s been there or who has the skills to help you navigate through the tough times. Things quickly become overwhelming when you feel you have to do everything yourself and keep things bottled up inside. But if you can share your hardships and challenges and find someone to support you, that simple change can shift your thinking and help bring solutions within reach.
Lead From Within: To find the balance, the stamina, the solutions you need, remember that the first step is always the same: Stay positive.
N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.
Clark James Gonzales
02. Aug, 2016
Really good stuff.
10. Aug, 2016
Good advice; I know it works. I also follow some of these strategies in managing and leading people. I prefer to work with people by use my heart (psychology…) instead of getting boxed in by following standard processes. I have learnt that people are more important than processes. Learning and following processes is easy, but understanding and working with people is much harder, but must be done to get the best outcome while maintaining your humanity and staying positive.
11. Aug, 2016
“…nothing is every perfect,…”
Ahmad Faraz Ali
14. Feb, 2017
Really useful stuff for each and every step of life
keri wyatt kent
16. Jun, 2017
So good. I’ve been thinking about this very topic today. I think another key to staying positive is self care. Leaders tend to take care of everyone else, and neglect their own spiritual and emotional health. Taking time to really rest, to get away and tend to your soul: that will keep you strong and ready to lead. I wrote about soul care for leaders today at http://wp.me/p37y1x-JA –would love your feedback on it.
23. Jun, 2018
Amazing work and great article, thank you Lolly.
25. Sep, 2019
i have never come across such advice and encouragement as an upcoming leader.am so bless and looking forward to live on dis pinciple