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Thursday, March 03, 2011

Positive Leadership: The Benefits of Being Positive

Over the years there has been much research on the positive effects of being positive and the negative effects of being negative. The research is clear. It really does pay to be positive and the benefits include enhanced health and longevity, happiness, career advancement, athletic performance, team building and financial success. Being positive is not just a nice way to live. It’s the way to live. In this spirit here are 11 benefits of being positive.

1. Positive People Live Longer - In a study of nuns, those that regularly expressed positive emotions lived on average 10 years longer. (The Nun Study)
2. Positive work environments outperform negative work environments. (Daniel Goleman)
3. Positive, optimistic sales people sell more than pessimistic sales people. (Martin Seligman)
4. Positive leaders are able to make better decisions under pressure. (Heartmath.org)
5. Marriages are much more likely to succeed when the couple experiences a 5 to 1 ratio of positive to negative interactions whereas when the ratio approaches 1 to 1, marriages are more likely to end in divorce. (John Gottman)
6. Positive people who regularly express positive emotions are more resilient when facing stress, challenges and adversity. (Several Studies)
7. Positive people are able to maintain a broader perspective and see the big picture which helps them identify solutions whereas negative people maintain a narrower perspective and tend to focus on problems. (Barbara Fredrickson)
8. Positive thoughts and emotions counter the negative effects of stress. For example, you can't be thankful and stressed at the same time. (Several Studies)
9. Positive emotions such as gratitude and appreciation help athletes perform at a higher level. (Heartmath.org)
10. Positive people have more friends which is a key factor of happiness and longevity. (Robert D. Putnam)
11. Positive and popular leaders are more likely to garner the support of others and receive pay raises and promotions and achieve greater success in the workplace. (Several Studies)


Positive Leadership: Reflections on Leadership from Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United

Here are some reflections from one of the UK’s most successful football managers ever, Sir Alex Ferguson, on successful leadership:

He believes he was born with a few leadership traits but the rest he learned.

He was born with high energy levels and a natural ability to take decisions. He takes quick decisions and never goes to sleep at night with a decision not made or doubt about one he has made. The rest he has learned. He built the foundations at an early stage:
•             he was a player and so he understood the game
•             he committed to personal training and development e.g. by doing all his coaching awards.

On leadership:
•             He decided on the pursuit of a clear goal at each stage in his career (e.g. he left East Stirlingshire because he knew he couldn't go for the European Cup there!).
•             He believes and invests in young talent and has always recruited good people around him. (All his key staff have now been with him for over 20 years.)
•             He admits that he learns from his mistakes.
•             He accepts that when you are the leader there are many myths that will surround you and untruths that will be said about you but you have to learn to live with that.
•             He leads with a set of values - commitment to the organisation; a belief that his team can be the best; keeping his feet on the ground and leading with humility.
•             He doesn't filter bad news, believing people should know where they stand.
•             He believes no individual is bigger than the organisation and would not hesitate to remove someone (best player or not) if they started to behave like they thought they were.
•             He believes there is now a clear "Spirit of Man U" that will go on beyond him, built by players like Scholes, Beckham and Giggs.
•             And finally, when he was at Aberdeen, with a terrifically supportive Chairman in Dick Donald, their AGM record was 7 minutes! Not a bad goal for any business in itself!