Happy Thoughtful Thursday! Let’s talk about the effect of perpetual optimism!
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In his book, It Worked For Me: In Life and Leadership, former Secretary of State Colin Powell outlines his Thirteen Rules of Leadership. The last of these rules were, “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” Optimism is powerful and contagious, but staying optimistic in times of adversity can be difficult. So, it is essential for leaders to maintain perpetual optimism.
Powell derived the phrase from his time serving in the military. According to Oxford Reference, the force multiplier effect is an “effect produced by a capability that, when added to and employed by a combat force, significantly increases the combat potential of that force and thus enhances the probability of successful mission accomplishment.”
It comes down to trust
Engender trust through transparency, inclusion, and empathy. These “conditions of trust” as Powell describes them are incredibly important. Without trust, your team won’t function as a cohesive unit and everyone will suffer for it. The organization will not accomplish its mission if everyone doesn’t do their part. The customers that they serve won’t have their problems solved for them.
In the end, that’s what business is all about–solving problems and making life easier for your customers. A manager who leads from a place of self-serving, unclear directives will find that failure is inevitable. Someone who leads from a place of selfless service with clear directives, resources to get their job done, and the agency to do the job will certainly find success more likely.
We may not be in a war or on the battlefield every day but we are working together in our teams and organizations to achieve a common goal. Some days things seem rough and that’s where Powell’s first rule comes in handy: “It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.”
Powells thirteen rules are a prime example of what a Service Leader should strive for. Leaders should be a tireless force for optimism and positive change. Powell says, “People trust you and look up to you because you are serving selflessly as a leader.” He had a sergeant that told him that he would know he was a “good leader when people follow you if only out of curiosity!”
He tells how he would be tired, cold, and hungry, but never showed that to his troops. His followers trusted him and they would follow him–if only out of curiosity–because of their trust in him.
We all have bad days. We all get tired and we all need a moment on occasion to recharge. We’re only human. We have to pick ourselves up and strive to be that beacon of optimism that people need when things seem bad. Multiply the force of positivity around you through perpetual optimism.