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Bringing Christmas cheer to leadership

By Patrick Gallen, Partner, People and Change Consulting, Grant Thornton

At this time of the year, we should be celebrating the joy of Christmas and bringing cheer and positivity to our teams and organisations. Moreover, it is not just about Christmas cheer, positive leadership comes from those who have faith in the future.

Approach life positively if you want to accomplish anything significant. When you face inevitable challenges, positive leadership is especially valuable. Positive leadership doesn’t come from pretence or fake optimism. It comes from having faith in the future and sufficient resolve to find solutions to difficult problems.

As an optimist, I am not saying that optimists are always right, it is more about getting the balance right. Optimists can sometimes have too much faith in a bright future so that they may ignore inconvenient facts.

Patrick Gallen

Positive – but balanced – leaders work to create a sense of hope. Their faith in the future enables them to attain their goals. They acknowledge that pessimism prevents some employees and organisations from achieving their potential, and they work to change that attitude.

They seek to improve their firm’s cohesiveness. They forge deep enduring connections with their colleagues and build high performing teams. They deal with their peers and their teams in a supportive, values-driven framework.

Positive leaders create and enable upbeat cultures, and they see this task as one of their main functions. Positive culture shapes what people believe will happen and how they behave.

You can reference this against some of the largest and most successful global businesses, such as Apple, Amazon, and Google. The leaders of those organisations knew the type of culture they wanted and the kind of people they needed to employ to drive that.

As I say to my three daughters on a regular basis, “If you believe your best days are ahead of you, they are!”

As a leader, the energy you radiate influences your colleagues and the culture you seek to create. Leaders need to share their vision and direction.

People want to know what they can aspire to, and where they should focus their efforts. Leaders who make this clear offer hope and help their employees believe that together they can achieve what otherwise appears impossible. Confidence gives you the edge that you and your team need to keep moving forward.

Address negativity, or it can destroy your team or organisation. Dismal thoughts and perspectives are like ‘barking dogs’. They might seem scary, but if you don’t let them intimidate you, they will back down. If you refuse to let negative thoughts or energies overwhelm you, they will prove no match for your confidence.

As one of my good friends often says, “don’t be a drain, be a radiator”. You must deal with the drains in your organisation. You don’t have to remove them, but you must influence them to change. Listen to what they say and help them upgrade how they think and feel.

Don’t be a ‘Bah Humbug’ this Christmas. Bringing Christmas cheer and positivity as a leader does not just make you better; it has a multiplier effect on everyone around you. Have a happy and positive Christmas.

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