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Enthusiastically Enthusiastic – 5 Actions to Ratchet Up Personal and Team Positivity

Many years ago, I remember attending a business meeting deliberating, debating, and wrestling with significant strategic decisions and direction. The banter that transpired won’t be unfamiliar to you leaders who have painfully endured similar rites of passage. What stands out to me in this particular meeting was on leader’s almost defiant exclamation to the participants, “hope is not a strategy.” The air was immediately sucked out of the room. In an instant, the conversation regressed into tactical minutia and what would turn out to be another lost opportunity.

As leaders, we fight bias every minute of every day. Mitigating the negative effects of our bias increases the probability of better decision-making and strategy outcomes. Even surgeons and astronauts deal with serious margins for error. Everything gets something wrong and some point in time. So why are we so quick to dismiss hope? And why can’t hope to be incorporated into a strategy?

On one hand, hope is a direct reflection of an organization’s optimism. An optimistic and positive organization yields more highly engaged and productive team members. On another side, hope acknowledges the improbability that every device and calculated action will work. The movie, Hope Floats, coined the term which implies that hope can give us the strength to overcome hardships and difficulties. I can’t think of a better lift to an organization than a positivity shot in the arm with a strong dose of hope. Hope is eternal and a better way to live.

There is a constructive tension between hope, positivity, and enthusiasm. The word enthusiasm comes from Greek origins and refers to being inspired. Here are 5 ways you can inject some enthusiasm into your life and team.

  1. See Forward. Adopting a professional policy of forwarding motions takes precedence over the past. I’m not saying don’t learn from the past, I’m suggesting a forward-thinking mindset. This posture injects pause to consider the positive outcomes ahead of you and your team.

  2. Be Positive. Your team feels your negativity. If you complain, they complain. If you want to set a higher standard, choose to live as a leader with a higher standard. You can expect behavior you don't do yourself.

  3. Set Expectations. Realistic and achievable, but a stretch that encourages growth. Casualness against your cause is your biggest enemy and potential detractor from an amazing culture. Be clear and transparent. You will be rewarded for it.

  4. Practice Accountability. The easy answer here is to expect accountability from those around you. I would alternatively suggest a posture of public accountability for your own actions. Leaders who demonstrate an open position on what they are working on and their progress against those objectives inspire optimism in a learning organization.

  5. Praise Others. When you see the enthusiastic and positive trait in your organization, call it out. Recognize it, reward it, and even ritualize its recognition. Remember, this is not about you at all, it is about creating an exceptional atmosphere for team success.

An enthusiastic leader is much better to be around and work with than the opposite. There is truly nothing gained in your moping about negativity. And beware of enthusiastic leaders who can’t back up that optimism. Enthusiasm can be a learned and developed leadership trait that is respected and admired by others. When others recognize that your, “freak out,” factor is low, they approach you more, give credible and meaningful feedback, and help build great organizational cultures and teams. You’ll achieve more goals, you’ll mitigate the frequency of errors, and sleep better at night.

Get positive, and practice enthusiasm.

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