In his novel Shogun, James Clavell says:
To think bad thoughts is really the easiest thing in the world. If you leave your mind to itself it will spiral down into ever increasing unhappiness. To think good thoughts, however, requires effort. This is one of the things that discipline – training – is about.”
That is a powerful thought and one that is incredibly important for us as leaders. Does it mean that great leaders must be eternal optimists or move through life with rose-colored glasses on? Not necessarily. But it doesn’t change the fact that enthusiasm, passion and a positive approach are all contagious.
Unfortunately, the opposite of those things are also contagious. The challenge for us as leaders extends beyond our thinking. Clavell is right, in my opinion. Thinking (and I’ll add communicating) positively takes effort. When we don’t make that effort, we will go into a downward spiral of negative thinking, beliefs and action.
So while creating a positive, enthusiastic environment might not be near the top of your priorities, perhaps it should be. Consciously creating a positive, proactive and can-do environment is one of our most under-respected and most-important leadership communication imperatives. Try these leadership activities today and everyday:
- Think good of yourself today.
- Think good about your team.
- Think positively about your future success.
- And take action on those thoughts