I am convinced that everyone is a leader in some capacity, whether it is in the home, the church, the community, or the corporation. In my public presentations I always ask for a show of hands as to who is a leader, and less than 10% of the audience raises their hands. Folks must acknowledge that they are a leader, and they should always strive to be the best leader they can be. Our Nation’s future depends on it. It is important to our Families, to our Community, and to our Nation that we all become effective, adaptive leaders.
I believe that a major characteristic of an effective, adaptive leader is a positive attitude. In my book, Adapt or Die: Leadership Principles from an American General I take 35 years in the Army and 4 years at West Point and condensed it down to nine leadership principles with a focus on Faith and Family. One of my principles states that a leader should focus on opportunities, not obstacles.
In our daily lives, unexpected things always happen. We had made plans, but those plans are placed at risk when resources (people, time, money) become scarce. Things change. Obstacles get in our way. We as leaders have a choice as to how we will react to that situation. It really is a choice.
The key is to focus on the opportunity, not the obstacle. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying “ A man is about as happy as he sets his mind to it”. It really is all about attitude. When encountering unexpected situations, a leader must take time to search for the opportunity that has presented itself, and then emphasize the opportunity (not the obstacle) as they talk to those entrusted to their care.
We have all been in situations where our leader displays a negative attitude. To them, everything is hard. They walk around with their head down, complaining about the current situation. What happens when the leader displays a bad attitude? Everyone else does as well. It becomes contagious. The entire organization is down trodden and unhappy, directly a result of the leaders negativity.
Leaders must be upbeat and positive all the time. They must accentuate the positive. They should always be a true joy to be around. Remember, there is something good to be found in every situation. Leaders must look very closely to determine what that is.
Let’s all commit to be a more positive leader. Let’s focus on opportunities, not obstacles. It will make all the difference. As Henry Ford said “If you say you can or you can’t you are right either way.” Let’s always say we can.