Lead positive, get better results

Since Taylor studied the efficiency of work, we’ve been searching for effective leadership styles. Actually, this is a double search: both for management and for leadership; for organization and inspiration. These two principles seem to contradict each other in daily practice. More rules, standardization and control mechanisms are seldom the inspirational measures employees are craving for. Perhaps we need to start from a different point. Leadership can inspire. With inspired employees, you can search for the necessary organization. Start with positive leadership and from there, work towards a stronger organization as a team.

Why do we need positive leaders? Not for Pollyannaish feel-good, but because it’s a very effective way of doing good business. Engaged employment leads to better performance measures and lower turnover and better health for employees. And if it works and feels good, why won’t you try it?

Start your positive leadership, to yourself and others, with a more optimistic look on things. You don’t need to become naïve. Try an optimistic, growth-oriented view. When things go wrong, acknowledge that and see what can be done to solve it and improve it next time. But focus on the possibilities. And when all is well, acknowledge that and give compliments for what your team did.

Another important role as a positive leader is making your team feel valued. Respect them, listen to them. Give them autonomy whenever possible, support when needed. When the organization needs to change, try to involve the employees. Let them speak and show that you’re listening.

And for the part of better organization: not many employees want chaos. They just don’t want to be forced in protocols and rules they don’t believe in. So, next time there’s too much chaos, start talking with your team. Do they experience chaos as well? Perhaps not, and it’s a question of how their control can be communicated to you. Explain your worries and ask them what you can do about it, together. If they do experience chaos, they will be more than willing to search for possibilities to minimalize that chaos. You can offer some suggestions, sure, but make sure that they agree on them. Ask them what their improvements would be, first. And start experimenting, instead of giving top-down, inflexible commands about what excel sheet should be used from now on.

As Dan Pink described: “you people probably want to do something cool, let me get out of the way”. That, plus proper support, will help your team get more inspired. And when inspired, they can also help to let the organization prosper.