- Build on progress more than fixing. All leaders deal with mistakes and failure, but darkness expands when fixing is your focus.
- Spend 20% of your time acknowledging problems and 80% creating solutions. The 80/20 ratio is usually reversed. Successful leaders find a way forward. Pessimists can’t lead. Hand-wringers inspire hand-wringing.
- Create environmental solutions. Play happy music if you want people to feel up, calm if you want relaxation, for example. Environmental solutions prevent nagging, bossing, and persistent intervention. Place a barrier to the left if you want people to turn right.
- Over-respond to courage when you see it in others. Bold screw ups are better than timid success.
- Go outside your organization to deal with personal discouragement. No exceptions. Don’t be “up” all the time. But, when darkness closes in, find light outside.
- Mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice, at least for a while. You don’t get it, from their point of view, if you don’t acknowledge it. See big problems when others see big problems. Don’t minimize. But, don’t sit and play in the mud. (See #2 above)
- Get people in their sweet spot. Don’t press through repeated failure and nagging frustration. Promote people into their strengths.
- Respond to resistance with gentle persistence. Focus on big goals – adapt on short-term methods. Say, “Here’s what we’re trying to accomplish. What can we try that moves us forward?” Bowling people over drains their motivation.
- Answer persistent resistance with vision-clarification and realignment. “Are we pulling in the same direction?” Short-term goals won’t help if they are pulling North and you’re pulling West.
- 10. Create and celebrate small wins all the time. Long-range is fine for the board-room but disappointing where the rubber hits the road. Momentum is a series of small wins.
Bonus: Talk less – ask more.
Which item is most important to you? Why?
What “Must do” would you add to the list?