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In our previous blog post we outlined the 3 strategies required to become a Positive Outlier. We also made the point that the realm of the positive outlier is not confided to leadership roles, anyone at anytime can be a positive outlier, at work or in their personal life. However, we do believe that to be a Powerfully Positive Leader you need to be a positive outlier first.

What is a Powerfully Positive Leader?

The concept of Powerfully Positive Leadership is not defined by the leaders personal potential for growth and development but rather their ability to make others better. They do this by assisting them to discover and exercise their own personal potential. That’s what differentiates this leader from the rest.

Practical Optimism to Powerful Leadership

It’s one thing to be a positive outlier but how do you take this practical optimism and turn it into a powerful leadership style?

The key to a successful transition is to use your outlier skills to develop skills within your team. No surprise there really, however an important distinction needs to be made here, it’s not enough to merely role model the outlier skills, it takes gentle and patient persistence. You need to use your skill to assist those in your team, to develop this occurs over time as you help your team members with their workplace problems.

The foundation of this process relies on the leaders ability to show empathy, notice when others are struggling and asking how they can help, additionally they hold an underlying belief that their behaviour matters. This results in them demonstrating their willingness to help in a way that is focused toward problem solving.

Problem Solving Strategies 

This leader understands that to cultivate greater self belief and confidence in their team members they have to create ‘wins’ to assist them in overcoming learned helplessness, allowing them to experience first hand that their own behaviour matters and as a result they can expect good outcomes. They develop rational optimism.

The 3 strategies that the Powerfully Positive Leader use for problem solving include:

1. Positive engagement

These leaders focus on the problem solving so they leave people thinking about the problem in a different light. For example, when they see someone is stressed about meeting a deadline they facilitate the following fact checking exercise.

2. Fact checking

These leaders help with the team member to fact check their current situation by:

Isolating the negative or stressful thoughts – the current story about the problem. For example I’m never going to finish this project on time.

List the known facts – my workload is heavy, my colleagues are swamped and tired and I don’t feel I can ask them to help me get it done.

List the fuelling facts that illuminate the new story. I’ve never asked for an extension before, I could ask John for help, and I have 30 hours between now and the deadline, perhaps I could get it done.

3. Recent Successes

They also have them talk about recent successes. What successes have you had recently that can show you the way forward.

These interactions leave the individual team members thinking of things they can do about their perceived problem rather than focusing on the problem itself. In turn this builds their own confidence and over time their ability to find solutions themselves to problems in the future.

As a result of this they’ll start to see that their behaviour matters and start expecting good things to happen. Before you know it you have a team of individuals with a higher optimism quotient and the skills of a positive outlier, over time these outlier behaviours become the team norm.

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