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10 New Steps to Become a Positive and Authentic Leader

Dr. Fred Johnson and Nick Metler | 8/9/2022 8:30:00 AM

The Positive and Authentic Leader

Positive change begins on the inside. If you want different results, it's never about magic, luck, or throwing things at the wall and hoping it sticks. You have to begin with your way of thinking. You have to start with behaviors. 

It is normal in our world to be negative. As humans, we naturally make quick judgments to save our skin. For much of history, this was necessary for survival, but negativity isolates us from others when leading. This isolation is the antithesis of leadership. Part of being a leader is attracting others and drawing out the best each member has to offer.

Negativity is not leadership.

Now, becoming positive is not becoming sugary sweet either! Positive leadership is being productive and constructive. Positive leadership creates an environment that fights against the heaviness, defensiveness, and emotional spirals that negativity brings to a culture. Deep change is not about complexity; it is about simplicity.

So here are the 10 Steps to Become a Positive and Authentic Leader:

1. Stop Blaming People

When leaders spend time blaming the people around them, they sacrifice their ability to solve problems. This action creates a feeling of powerlessness or hopelessness that breeds negativity. Pointing the finger at others isolates your leadership. It's reactionary, and it's unhelpful. If you want to make better decisions and solve more problems, you must start by pointing the finger at yourself. Blaming everyone else for your circumstances will not get you anywhere.

2. Take 100% Responsibility for Where You Are

Taking 100% Responsibility is the first step toward a solutions mindset. It's about learning the value of your goals. The greater your goals, the greater the resistance you will face. By taking 100% Responsibility for your actions, you begin to recognize your control daily.

How do your actions impact the people around you?

Can you change the tenor of your organization by choosing positivity? 

3. Focus On Your Locus of Control

Similarly, your locus of control is critical. Leaders believe they have a choice. It’s so easy to focus on what is out of your control. An increase in information has contributed to this tendency. An increase in hyperconnectivity has contributed to this, as well. With the pace of change and the volume of information, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and uncertain. 

So what can you control?

You have a choice. 

Taking 100% Responsibility is a remedy for reactionary leadership. When you restore your focus on your Locus of Control, you restore your proactivity. You have the freedom to choose how you will respond.

4. Change Your Glasses

You will get what you look for.

If you're looking for mistakes, if you're looking for the negative qualities in each day, you will find them. Change your glasses. Look at the world a little differently. Choose to rise above the noise and find the areas of your life that bring your joy and gratitude.

5. Switch From Comparison to Gratitude

Gratitude is a daily choice. Great leaders must choose it every day. Great leaders are not jealous of other people's success. They don't take joy in the failure of others either. How can you celebrate the people around you? How will this open the door to less isolation and more collaboration? 

6. Change Your Inner Ear

The greater your impact, the more likely you will become a target for negativity. Great leaders find ways to turn destructive attitudes into information. Turn the toxicity of others into data. The world may be falling around you. The stress and drama of others will seek to become your focus, but slow down and focus on your locus of control. You don't have to receive every message that's delivered.

7. Let Go of Judgment

Choose to allow people to be where they are. This doesn't mean you agree with everything they do or are on board with all their actions, but it frees you from judgment. Focus on being the best version of yourself! 

8. Retrain Your Brain

To change your outcomes, you must change your thoughts. Grab some sticky notes to start on the path toward a positive way of thinking. This week take some time to write down every time you have a negative thought or an adverse reaction. This exercise will bring the norms we don't always see in the open. By creating this distance, moving from the unseen to the seen, you can begin to pivot.

9. Ask People to Hold You Accountable

Accountability isn't a "gotcha" moment. It's asking for the gift of having others in your life who care. It's saying, "When you see me going into the swamp, let me know!" There are three types of accountability:

  • Top-Down Accountability
  • Bottom-Up Accountability
  • Sideways or Peer-to-Peer Accountability

Sideways is the most effective. Accountability isn't a weapon, and you cannot change without it! 

10. Let Go of Blame and Negativity by Grabbing Onto Your Purpose

Purpose starves negativity. Purpose changes your leadership lens. Your purpose is where you have your most significant impact and joy with the least effort.

Here are five questions to help you hone in on your purpose:

  1. What rings the joy bell in my heart?
  2. Where do my friends say that I have my most significant impact?
  3. Is it within my talents, gifts, and abilities?
  4. Can I do these things without losing touch with the most important people in my life?
  5. Does it create rain in the lives of others?

 Change is possible, and your choice to change causes others to recognize they can too!

Register for our September 16 Think Tank, where Dr. Fred Johnson discusses the factors that make leaders choose to develop a leadership culture!