Thursday, March 26, 2009

Leadership from Front to Back

Everyone is a leader. Whether they…or you…want to be a leader, everyone leads.

Leadership is always moving in either a positive direction or a negative direction. There is no standing still. In fact, the people who are standing still are leading in a negative direction.

Are you moving yourself and others ahead or back? If you don’t think you have an effect on others read the first sentence again. Your co-workers, family, friends, and total strangers who are in line at the gorcery store with you are aware of your presence and you never know who's taking cues from you. Are there practical, everyday things you can do to lead in a positive direction? Absolutely!

Not long ago a friend was telling me about an acquaintance who, when he meets people now, says, “Tell me something good.” We encounter so much bad news (the media leading us backward) that he decided he had had enough; he wanted to hear something good. But, he also wanted to try and start changing peoples’ thinking and, therefore, their lives. So, he used the greeting as a way to snap them out of their backward slide and help them, at least for a moment, to move in a positive direction.

Catching people doing things right is another way to lead in a positive direction. Every day you should catch someone doing something right in your work life and personal life. Colleagues want positive affirmation and family members, especially children, crave it. Catch someone doing something right, praise them, and watch them smile. That’s positive leadership.

If you listen to the pronouncements of public officials they are trying to sound positive without sounding too optimistic. It’s because they know that if the economy, or health care, or defense isn’t all blue birds and lemonade in 30 days the media will hammer them about it.

However, when Ronald Reagan became president he stepped up and essentially said, “We’re America. We have problems and we’ll solve them. Think positively. Do your work the best you can. Take your family out to dinner. Enjoy life.” And the stock market jumped with optimism.

That’s leadership.

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