We’ve all heard the saying – so goes the leader so goes the team. And we know that means that the leader largely sets the culture and tone of their team. It follows that if the leader is negative and pessimistic the culture and tone of the team are very likely heavy, and negative. On the other hand, if the leader demonstrates positivity and optimism then that sets an entirely different tone.
We believe the real key is having a leader that demonstrates the ability to be a positive outlier and role models those skills with their team with daily and consistent demonstrable action. This sets the stage for habitual positive behaviour within the team. Ultimately this behaviour becomes the norm by which the team operates. Under the Outliers leadership, individuals thrive, enjoying higher levels of workplace satisfaction and engagement. In turn, they form a highly productive and profitable business unit.
There is no doubt, leaders with these skills are highly desirable, however, anyone in any team can be a positive outlier.
The 3 things to look for in a positive outlier:
1. They are optimistic
The workplace optimist holds the following to be true:
- good things will happen
- they believe their behaviour matters
In practice what this means is that when they are faced with a difficult situation they will take action because they believe their behaviour makes a difference and then they expect good things will come from it.
For example, in the workplace, if this person receives a negative performance review they won’t wallow in self-pity. They will take the feedback on board and do the things required to lift their skill level and their performance in the areas required. And because they know they’ve done what was required they expect that their behaviour will positively influence group and individual outcomes.
2. Positive Engagement
In times of stress, like a heavy workload and impending deadlines they chose to see this as a challenge and switch to their highest potential. Instead of focusing on how little time they have and how hard it will be to finish, they are inclined to reframe their negative story i.e. I’ll never get this finished in time. They start to ask themselves more helpful questions like; who can I ask for help, how much time can I allocate to this task between now and when it’s due, and what other tools and resources do I have access to that will make this easier?
Before long they’ve found the solution, have a strategy in place and are feeling much calmer and engaged.
3. Support Provision
This is about your readiness to support others when you can see they need help with their workload or perhaps need someone to just listen to their concerns. In fact, being willing to help others increases your likelihood of success and promotion. Just in case you needed additional incentive to develop these skills!
So how does this positive outlier become a powerfully positive leader? We will be exploring this more on our upcoming blogs!
* We’d like to acknowledge this article was inspired by Michelle Gielan’s presentation at the Work Human Conference 2016 in Orlando Florida.