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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.   

Experiment: 

  • 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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