“Overlooking the negative and focusing on the positive,” says Helen Fisher, a best-selling author on relationships and a fellow at the Kinsey Institute.
Speaking on “The Diane Rehm Show,” Fisher says that brain scans of couples averaging 20 years revealed the parts of the brain that were active were those linked to empathy, self-control, and an ability to overlook negative, that is, “positive illusions.”
Maintaining “positive illusions” is an outlook that leaders can employ.
Leaders should look on bright side as a means of giving people hope. By nature such hope is rooted in a leader’s faith in his or her followers. It is an affirmation therefore of people for whom the leader is responsible.
None of us is perfect and everyone will, from time to time, do stupid things. Better then to assume the better nature of an individual who reports to you.
When a leader finds something negative, and which threatens organizational harmony, it is time to become involved. Dissent over issues is a positive; it encourages freedom of thought. Dissension over people that undermines the effectiveness of a leader cannot be tolerated.
A leader who can put aside petty slights in order to achieve intended goals is worthy of respect and followership.
It is necessary to know what you are and what you can do. Sounds simple, but too often we don’t take the time – or, more precisely – make the time to understand our role.
In my coaching practice I work with executives to help them define their leadership selves. Here are three questions that can help you, too.
What do I do well? Consider your core competency — what you do for your job. Then think about the skills you execute to complete your job duties. Beyond competency consider how you interact with people.
Where do I need help and why? Tough question, certainly. How well do you serve your team? Think about what you may be avoiding because you don’t want to do it, don’t like to do it, or feel incompetent in doing it?
How can I better serve my colleagues? Focus on what other people need from you. Are you fulfilling their needs? It doesn’t hurt, and in fact, it may be wise to check what you think you are with what others are receiving? Is there alignment?
These questions are thought-starters; they serve as a means to an end of discovering what you do best and how you can continue to do it.
One was called Mr. Hockey. The other they called the King.
Gordie Howe and Arnold Palmer
Each was the best of their era, as well as the best of men.
Gordie Howe played 25 seasons in the NHL more than any other player. Big and tough as well as graceful, Howe scored more goals and assists than anyone in his time and served as the game’s greatest ambassador and one of its most beloved characters. Howe was Mr. Hockey.
As famous as he became, Gordie remained humble.
Arnold Palmer won many golf tournaments. Along the way, he popularized golf in ways it had never been popularized. His winning ways, and his winsome smile and swashbuckling golf style, made him a hit with advertisers.
A key to Arnold’s passion for the game as well as his love of people can be attributed to his father, Deke, who taught him to respect fans because they were the same as he was.
It should be mandatory for anyone becoming the head of an organization to study the examples of Gordie Howe or Arnold Palmer, not simply to get a taste of their competitive fires, but more to learn how to act “normal” when everyone wants a piece of you.