With advancements within the field of Neuroplasticity, the topic of leadership becomes far more holistic than it once was. Gone are the days where it is acceptable for the corporate monster to come bearing down on you with his fists raised angrily screaming, “just shut up and do what I say, not what I do”. This type of power wielding anger creates tremendous stress on the brain and the body and cannot be sustained long term for either the enforcer or the enforced.

Towards a holistic view of leadership

Holistic health and well-being is a hot topic across many corporate boards. To sustain effective and healthy leadership, emphasis on coaching others as a key component to a management role – rather than dictatorship – has proven far more effective. Positive leadership and coaching the development of others has a much more therapeutic and compassionate based element to being an effective leader than the power stress that often comes with a leader attempting to enforce outcomes by encompassing a parent-child relationship with their staff. It is also far more effective at influencing and motivating others than the repressive environments that were once commonplace in the workforce.

Positive Leadership encompasses four key strategies:
• Fostering a positive climate
• Engaging in positive communication
• Reinforcing positive meanings
• Developing positive relationships

Coaching the development of others is a people-centered approach that involves getting to know someone on a deeper than surface level. This may include understanding what drives and motivates each member of your staff as an individual to achieve and what they are truly passionate about. Understanding both behaviorism styles and individual best learning practices is also a good starting point to build true loyalty and commitment among staff. By doing this a leader can also more accurately assess how to approach individuals in a way that they will understand and relate to. This creates better communication, deeper levels of trust and commitment and more overall productivity.

The reflective leader

Self-assessment and self-awareness also form a large part of the positive leadership approach. As a leader you can ask yourself a number of questions to determine if you could indeed be more in-tune with your individual staff members and their needs, to create a more effective and productive working space.

Some questions you can ask yourself to determine if you are fostering a positive and enjoyable environment for your staff may include:

Do I express gratitude to multiple employees each and every day?
Do I demonstrate forgiveness for mistakes and errors, rather than adopting punishments and grudge holding?
Do I provide support and development as an indicator of forgiveness for individuals who make errors?
Do I communicate a ratio of approximately five positive messages for every one negative message to all staff that I interact with?
Do I provide opportunities for my team to receive feedback of their strengths and to develop a self-awareness of their strengths?

These are just some things to think about in terms of how you may be acting as more of a “boss” than a leader and may be stifling your teams’ true potential. Times are changing and being a “boss” is no longer very acceptable or well received. Effective leadership in the 21st century includes high emotional intelligence and treating people as equals. Look for ways to build stronger and more positive climates, communication, meaning and relationship among your team at all times. Your staff will look to you as a leader and then model the behaviour that you demonstrate, which will create an environment more conducive of human flourishing.

About the author: Jamie views Positive Psychology as her lifes’ calling – to help change the world. She is the 47th person in the world to finish the only government accredited Diploma of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing in existence. She has designed a free 21-day Happiness Program to introduce people to retraining their brain for greater happiness. www.thehappinessninja.com.au


‘We are the Positive Psychology People’

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