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Exercises in Fostering Optimistic Leadership

The best leaders are realistic and infectious optimists and lead their teams to discover greater optimism, resilience and self-mastery.  

Fostering Optimism in Your Team

In our corporate and institutional work, we ask senior leaders to open up conversations right across the business on what makes the team members optimistic.   


  • For the next meeting you lead, add an item to the agenda - "What makes you Optimistic?"
  • If you feel it needs it, add an explanatory note, "At its simplest, optimism is an expectation that good things will happen and that things will work out in the end."
  • Go round the table asking each person what makes them optimistic. 
  • Take your time, don’t rush. If someone doesn’t feel ready to express themselves, let them take a pass.

Try this again three months later.  Has the conversation changed?  Has had it had an impact on your work and team-interaction?

I recently had a businessman expressing frustration that the effect of his Monday morning pep-talks to his sales team appeared to have worn off by Monday lunchtime. I suggested he change one of his Monday morning meetings to include an opening question from each of his sales-team expressing their case for optimism. It worked! He has made it a monthly ritual at sales meetings.

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