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The Link between Intelligent Leadership and Positive Thinking
“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice” – Roy T. Bennett.
…and so is positive thinking.
We can define positive thinking as a state of mind that expects a favorable outcome. In my book “Intelligent Leadership”, I have defined it as the ability to dispute the validity of negative thoughts.
Mature leaders understand and wield this ability better than their immature peers. The link between intelligent leadership and positive thinking is, therefore, maturity.
The benefits of positive thinking are numerous and far-reaching.
How Does Positive Thinking Help You Become a Better Leader?
Positive thoughts lead to positive experiences that result in good feelings. These are the immediate benefits of positive thinking. Scientists like Barbara Frederickson have concluded, however, that positive emotions also produce long-term “flourishing”. In the context of leadership, these long-term effects translate to improved abilities to communicate, explore, and create. They broaden your perspectives and subtly build new skills.
Negative emotions, on the other hand, cripple your development, putting you in a single-minded, fight-or-flight state of mind. Such a state of mind leads to ineffective thoughts that give birth to ineffective behaviors that generate ineffective results. Reactive, fear-based attitudes are the hallmarks of the immature leader.
Emotional Intelligence, Leadership Maturity, and Positive Thinking
Intelligent leadership and emotional intelligence go hand-in-hand. A mature leader can map his/her emotions. He/she also possesses the ability to control these emotions through specific techniques.
One such technique involves the questioning of negative thoughts and the exploration of their validity.
Do not accept a negative thought as valid, simply because it sprang forth from your mind. Ask questions about it such as:
- Is that true?
- Is there any evidence that supports it?
- Is it a logical conclusion or an anger-sparked generalization?
- Does it hold from an objective perspective?
As a mature leader, you need to realize that several complex factors shape your results, positive and negative. Singling out one cause of a setback and dwelling on it is akin to scapegoating. Therefore, you should explore alternative explanations for your negative thoughts.
Increasing Positive Thinking in the Context of Intelligent Leadership
In your day-to-day life, you can promote positive thinking through meditation, quality time, and physical fitness. As a mature leader, you can do the same through a set of mental exercises that build your positive thinking-related skills.
Mature leaders control their emotions and attitudes.
- Visualize the situation that is the source of your negative thoughts. Visualize its negative results as well.
- Put the visualized situation into words.
- Ask yourself questions about how you handled the situation.
- Identify the emotions this exercise triggers in you and verbalize them.
- Identify a course of action for change and commit to it.
- Visualize the positive results of change, as well as the steps that lead to these results.
- Verbalize and visualize every imagined step to success.
- Have a clear idea of what success looks like.
Remember, mature and successful leaders are passionate about their work, happy, and hopeful because they make a conscious decision to be that way. They choose to harness the power of positive thinking and reap its multi-faceted benefits as a result.