Yesterday my wife and I arrived in Portland Oregon for the first time as residents. The clouds were low and thick, and there was a steady rain falling as we entered our apartment building.
There to meet us was the building’s concierge. As he helped us get our luggage into the elevator, my wife said to him “It’s a really gray day”.
He smiled, ear to ear. “Yes, it’s a GREAT day”
You could literally feel the positive energy coming out of him as he ever so cleverly “mis-heard” my wife’s comment.
At that moment, we forgot about the gray, and the rain. He was right – it was a GREAT day.
We couldn’t help but admire this young man’s moxie, and refusal to get sucked into a place he just didn’t want to go. Instead, he took us back into HIS wonderful world – in a matter of seconds.
Needless to say, we didn’t think about the weather the rest of the day.
And THAT is the incredible power of positivity.
Especially when it’s in the hands of someone, like a leader, who can use it to influence a lot of people.
The workplace is always capable of generating those “gray” days – where there’s that big cloud hanging over the building.
It could be a big deadline approaching that has everyone skittish. Or it could be that profits have declined, or milestones aren’t being hit, or layoffs are happening.
We’ve all been there. And the temptation for everyone is to commiserate. “Boy, it’s bad, isn’t it?” “Gosh, we’re going to miss our deadline” “Isn’t it a bummer around here these days?”
So, so human nature. Misery loves company. And like a virus, it spreads fast. But there is an antidote.
This is where leaders really have to earn their keep, by taking that gray, and turning it into great, just like our concierge.
It’s all about attitude, projection, language, and yes, whether you see the glass as half-full or half-empty (you knew I was going to go there eventually, given the title of my blog!).
The essence of what I call “half-fullism” is “dealing with the literal world in a favorable way”. In my view, truly great leaders must be able to look at the world from that perspective.
And then, be able to project it onto their teammates.
Mistakes? “Hey, let’s learn from them and move on”
Problems? “Great, there’s another opportunity for us to shine”
Bad News? “I’m glad you brought this to my attention – let’s see what WE can do to fix it”
Gray? “Oh yes, it sure is a great day today!”
(OK, so I haven’t tried that last one yet. But thanks to my wonderful new concierge, you bet I will.)
You must bring this energy into every room you enter, and infuse it into every dialogue you have.
One of the best compliments I could ever get is “thank you for bringing your positive energy and enthusiasm to our workplace”, because that’s when I know my antidote is working.
Bring this power into your leadership – take your charges into YOUR positive place. And watch what happens.