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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Optimism: 2010's Secret Weapon

2009 has been a most difficult year.

Most business leaders - including media professionals - have found themselves unable to lead.

Perhaps for the first time in their careers. And when they lie awake at night in their own space they are terrified.

They watch their organizations crumble under the weight of an unforgiving economy.

They've cut their workforces so much that once-competent employees have been unable to perform due to overwork and distraction.

But there is a way out and it starts with the organization's leader.

Leaders are their most affective when they are most in touch with reality, and this happens when they are almost viscerally in sync with the people and markets they lead and serve.

It's about being able to absorb reality and being able to lead accordingly.

So, despite what you know, the mood your employees experience, is so important.

An optimistic mood will help you communicate in a more effective manner.

A leader's mood is infectious. It can spread like wildfire through an organization.

You, as a leader, can poison or uplift the mood without realizing it.

Be very aware of how your slightest signals can affect people when you are in a position of power (that's for all you formal leaders) or people look to you for a lead (for you informal leaders).

No one wants to work for a grouch. Research has proven it: optimistic, enthusiastic leaders more easily retain their people compared with those bosses who tend towards negative moods.

Numerous studies show that when the leader is in a happy mood, the people around him view everything in a more positive light. That, in turn, makes them more optimistic about achieving their goals, enhances their creativity and the efficiency of their decision-making, and predisposes them to be helpful.

In more than one sense, then, leadership is truly viral.

Become an optimist of the will and your organization can pull itself up.