Positive versus Negative Leadership

 I’m going to conclude this long series on leadership (I really am going to conclude, I promise!) with a few thoughts on positive leadership.

The term is used enough these days to have become somewhat hackneyed, but I still really believe in it.

Positive leadership is leadership that relies on optimism, hope, collaboration, and loyalty to achieve goals.

It is the opposite of a leadership style that relies on division, acrimony, and backstabbing to get the leader where she wants to go.

I’ve seen both styles in action during my career and I know, first hand, that while negative leadership can get the desired results, they are often short-lived and they are always vulnerable to being torn down.

So, too, is the negative leader.

Positive leadership on the other hand, draws people in because at heart (I still believe) people are more comfortable with positive attributes (like respect, empathy, and ethical action) than the reverse.

Of course, blind optimism — or sheer naivete — doesn’t produce results either, because it’s not grounded in reality.

But a leadership style that combines a realistic reckoning of events — an optimistic vision of the future — can inspire an awful lot of followers.