Book: The Power of Positive Leadership

thepowerofpositiveleadership“The Power of Positive Leadership: How and Why Positive Leaders Transform Teams and Organizations and Change the World” by Jon Gordon
  • “John Gottman’s pioneering research on relationships found that marriages are much more likely to succeed when the couple experiences a five-to-one ratio of positive to negative interactions; when the ratio approaches a one-to-one ratio, marriages are more likely to end in divorce.”
  • “Because optimists believe in a positive future, they actually delude themselves into working more to make it possible. Their belief makes them willing to take actions to achieve it. As a result, positive leaders invest their time and energy in driving a positive culture.”
  • “Your most important job as a leader is to drive the culture—and not just any culture. You must create a positive culture that energize and encourages people, fosters connected relationships and great teamwork, empowers and enables people to learn and grow, and provides an opportunity for people to do their best work. Culture is not just one thing; it’s everything. Culture drives expectation and beliefs. Expectations and beliefs drive behaviors. Behaviors drive habits. And habits create the future.”
  • “It’s why Apple is famous for stating the maxim that ‘culture beats strategy.’ You have to have the right strategy of course, but it is your culture that will determine whether your strategy is successful.”
  • Start driving and building culture by starting with two questions:
    • “What do we stand for?”
    • “What do we want to be known for?”
  • “The greatest mission statement in the world is pointless unless your people are on a mission. When I speak to leaders, I always tell them that it doesn’t matter what core values you have written on the walls of your building and website if you don’t live and breathe them every day.”
  • “As a positive leader, you can’t just show the way and talk the way. You must also lead the way. You must live your culture and know what it is an extension of who you are as a leader.”
  • “Leaders define what your culture stands for, and your people define whether or not they stand for your culture.”
  • “As a leader your attitude, energy, and leadership is contagious, and it has a big impact on your culture.”
  • “When you walk into the office or the meeting, or onto the field, you have a decision to make: Are you going to be a germ to your team or big does of vitamin C?”
  • “Feeling is more powerful than hearing. You can’t just create a culture where people hear about what’s important. You must create a culture where people feel what’s important. You must crate a culture where people don’t just hear your talk but rather they feel your walk. When they feel the mission and also hear about the mission, they’ll be on a mission.”
  • “If you want the fruit, you must invest in the root. If you invest in the root, you will always receive a great supply of fruit. Of course you should measure your fruit, but you should do so knowing that it’s imply a byproduct of how well you are nurturing the root. Your culture is your root, and your focus should be on the process that nourishes and produces the fruit.”
  • “Mike Smith learned that a culture will not sustain itself. You must sustain it. You must continue to build it, reinforce it, live it, protect it, and fight for it.”
  • “If you have a vision, then you also have the power to make it happen. Positive leaders tap into the power of a vision and find a way forward.”
  • “The vision of a positive leader creates and shares serves as a North Start that points and moves everyone in the organization in the right direction. The leader must continually point to this North Start and remind everyone that this is where we are going.”
  • “one of the simple ways to transform ideas and visions into results is to have a conversation with the people you lead.”
  • “During each conversation, you share the vision and you ask each person to identify what it means to him or her. For the vision to come to life, it must have meaning to us individually.”
  • “After the people on your team identify what the vision means to them, ask them what their personal vision is and how it can help contribute to the bigger vision of the organization. Then ask them how you an help them on their journey.”
  • “Finally, ask them how they would like you to hold them accountable.”
  • “He said that we all have two dogs inside of us. We have a negative dog and a positive dog, and they fight all the time. Matt asks Bubba who wins the fight, to which Bubba replies, ‘The one you feed the most, so feed the positive dog.’”
  • “Gills continued, ‘If I listen to myself, I hear all the reasons why I should give up. I hear that I’m too tired, too old, too weak tomato it. But if I talk to myself, I can give myself the encouragement and words I need to hear to keep running and finish the race.’”
  • “But just because you have a negative thought doesn’t mean you have to believe it. Many of your negative thought come from fear and the truth is that fear is a liar. I’ve learned that instead of listening to the negative lies, we can choose to feed ourselves with the positive truth.”
  • “The Gallup Organization did a study where they asked people to name the best and the worst event of their lives. They found that there was an 80 percent correlation between the two events. Somehow the worst event of our lives often leads to the best, if we stay positive, stay the course, and keep moving forward.”
  • “Those who saw it as a bad thing and resisted it got crushed by the wave. Those who saw it as a good thing and an opportunity rode the wave to a better future.”
  • “As my friend Erwin McManus said, ‘Greatness is never born from easy circumstances. We can become stronger when the world becomes harder.”
  • “It’s not the challenge, change, economy, election, adversity, or setback you are facing. It’s always your state of mind and your thinking that produces how you feel and respond. When you see that the world has no power over you, you will lead more powerfully in the world.”
  • “When a new idea or product fails, they come up with a better idea and a better business. Failure is accepted as part of the innovation and growth. Ideas are tested and the best ones win.”
  • “Ultimately, being a positive leader is all about leading with faith in a world filled with cynicism, negativity, and fear. The ultimate batter we face everyday is the battle between faith and fear. As a leader you must realize that your people are facing this battle daily. They are filled with fear, doubt, and uncertainty, and it’s your job to inspire them with faith. Leading with faith instead of fear.”
  • “But we know that positive leaders don’t do it alone. They do it with others, with the team they build and the people they inspire, encourage, and lead with faith on the journey.”
  • “You will face a lot of adversity, resistance, and negativity, but always remember that your certainty, optimism, belief, and faith must be greater than all the negativity, fear, and doubt.”
  • “Gandhi said, ‘I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet,’ and neither should you.”
  • “To build a winning team you must create a positive culture where negativity can’t breed and grow, and the sooner you start confronting, transforming, weeding, and removing it from your team, the stronger and more positively contagious your culture and team will be.”
  • “The first step in dealing with an energy vampire on your team is not to remove but to transform. No one really wants to be an energy vampire. These people are likely negative for a reason. The first steps should always be to listen with empathy and love, and try to understand and transform.”
  • “If transforming the negativity doesn’t work, you must remove it. Your job as a leader is to create an environment where your people can do their best work without being affected by an energy vampire. You have to feed and weed, weed and feed.”
  • “You are not allowed to complain unless you also offer one or two possible solutions.”
  • “A team with talent can be good, but they must come together to be great. Positivity is the glue that enhances team connection and performance, and it impacts office teams, school teams, church teams, and hospital teams as much as it does Olympic teams.”
  • “A team and organization that’s not connected at the top crumbles at the bottom. Therefore, first and foremost, it’s important for the leadership team to be connected.”
  • “As a positive leader, you must be a unifier and connector who fosters relationships between others.”
  • “Narcissism and self-focus creates a disconnect between personal goals and team goals, and it undermines the team. People who put themselves and their projects before the team don’t build great organizations.”
  • “One of my favorite exercise to help team members become more connected is to have each person share a defining moment in their life. When you learn someone’s defining moment, you get to know them a whole lot better and develop a stronger connection with them.”
  • “My other favorite exercise is to have each person on the team share their hero, hardship, and highlight.”
  • “One of the reasons why being united so important is because the more connected you are, the more committed you become. You son’t have commitment without connection. Team connection makes a difference.”
  • “You may not have themes talents people on your team, but if you are a connected team, you will outperform many talented teams who lack a close bond. When a leader and team connect with each other, commitment, teamwork, chemistry, and performance improve dramatically.”
  • “Dabo then asked the teammate questions about his life, his hero, his defining moment, and his challenges. When Dabo was finished asking questions, the rest of the team was free to ask question. The stool was called the Safe Seat because it was a safe place for each person to share his story and heart with his team. It was a safe spot in a safe room. As each teammate took their turn in the Safe Seat, the players began to know each other a whole lot better. The walls of ego, pride, and selfishness came crumbling down as vulnerability and authenticity paved the way for meaningful relationships, trust, and strong bonds that helped create a connected and committed team.”
  • “Great leaders like Mulally don’t pretend to know all the answers. They collaborate with others and facilitate the process of finding and implementing the answers. Positive leaders don’t succeed on their own. They succeed by getting people to work together. This generates more connection, ownership, and buy-in.”
  • “Leadership begins with love.”
  • “Good leaders know their vision and purpose. Great leaders also know and love their people. If you want to build a great team, business, family, school, or organization, love the people you lead and work with.”
  • “Andy Stanley once said, ‘Rules without relationship lead to rebellion.’ Far too many leaders share rules with the people they lead but they don’t have a relationship with them. So what happens? The people they lead disengage from the mission and vision of the organization. I’ve had many leaders tell me that when they focus less on rules and invest more in their relationships they experience a dramatic increase in performance, morale, and engagement.”
  • “When you love someone, you take the time to invest in a relationship with them to help them improve and grow. People can tell when you have an agenda, so don’t have one. Just build great relationships and build something great together.”
  • “To invest in a relationship with them, you must communicate with them.”
  • “Communication builds trust. Trust generates commitment. Commitment fosters teamwork, and teamwork delivers great results.”
  • Coach’s 1-minute drill with team members: “Tell tell them what they are doing well, what they need to work on, and where is where their focus should be during the next training cycle. He then asks if they have any questions.”
  • “Without great communication, negativity fills the void and it breeds and grows, resulting in negative contagious energy that quickly spreads. This is why communication is also essential.”
  • “You can’t wait for a crisis to hit to start communicating with your team. You must communicate before a crisis so your foundation will be strong enough to overcome it.”
  • “Having an accurate assessment of the mood of the building and the organization at all times will allow you to make the best decisions for your team or organization.”
  • “You have to engage people who are closest to the potential challenges facing your organization. You have to ask questions, listen, and learn, and then decide how to use the readings to make decisions going forward.”
  • “As a positive leader, it’s important to be a positive communicator and make others feel important by listening to them and truly hearing what they have to say.”
  • “They gained the trust of their players and built winning teams by praising in public and constructively criticizing in private.”
  • “We all need encouragement and positive communicators encourages and inspire other to do more and become more than they ever thought possible.”
  • “The difference between success and failure is belief, and so often this belief is instilled in us by someone else.”
  • “Without connection you’ll never have commitment, but when you connect, you generate the commitment that leads to greater performance and success. I’m convinced you can’t truly coach someone to grow unless you know and have a relationship with them. Connection and relationships are what drive real growth.”
  • “If you want commitment from your team, you must show your commitment to your team.”
  • “When leaders complain to me that their teams aren’t committed, I always tell them to show their team what commitment looks like: ‘Go above and beyond. It starts with you.’ ‘What does it look like?’ they asked. ‘It looks like putting the needs of others before your own.'”
  • “Many leaders think that, as they gain power and responsibility, their teams should serve them more, but positive leaders know that their job is to serve their teams. When you serve the team, you help them grow and they help you grow. You can’t serve yourself and your team at the same time. You have to decide if you are going to be a self-serving ‘leader’ or a true leader who serves others.”
  • “When leaders become focused on the fruit instead of the root, when they worry about the outcome instead of the process of developing team members, they may survive in the short run, but they will not thrive in the long run. Self-serving leaders don’t leave legacies that change the world for the better. They may make money and achieve some fame in the short run, but true greatness is achieved when a leader brings out the greatness in others. Great leaders are great servants. A great leader sacrifices and serves in order to help team members become great.”
  • “What am I doing to serve my team and the people I lead? How can I serve them to help them to be the best versions of themselves? How can I demonstrate my commitment to them”
  • “The great thing about commitment is that when you commit your life to helping others grow, you grow.”
  • “If you don’t love, you don’t care, and if you don’t care, you won’t make the time to unite, communicate, encourage, connect, commit, serve, or sacrifice.”
  • “When you care about someone, they know it and feel it. And when they know you care about them, they will care about you and follow you with loyalty and passion.”
  •  “Many want to be big-time leaders but it’s important to remember that bing a big-time leader starts with doing the little things to serve those you lead. It’s always about the little things. Unity, relationships, and teamwork are developed slowly, one day; one interaction; one moment; one loving, serving, and caring act at a time.”
  • “Positive leaders are demanding without being demanding.”
  • “You don’t transform a company losing $14 billion into a profitable business in a few years without high expectations. However, he provided the encouragement, process, system, and coaching to meet these expectations.”
  • “I’ve worked with and studied leaders for years and I believe that the positive leaders who are able to create amazing teams and results provide both a lot of love and a lot of accountability.”
  • “Love without accountability means you’ll have great relationships and be a loving family, but you won’t be a great team On a great team, each player make the others better. Everyone strives for excellence together and accomplishes great things together. If you have accountability without love, you won’t have real commitment, buy-in, loyalty, passion, or great teamwork. You’ll be more like a dysfunctional family that fights all the time and simply tries to survive each day but doesn’t thrive. Eventually the rules will lead to rebellion and the pressure and stress without support will lead to burnout.”
  • “Many talk about tough love and I believe in it, but I have found that love must come first. If your team knows you love them, they will allow you to challenge and push them. Instead of tough love, it needs to be love tough.”
  • “And I know from experience that your team won’t hate you if your love comes first. They may not like it but they will know you love them and want the best for them.”
  • “A lack of purpose is what make us tired. A lack o purpose is what makes us tired. We don’t get burned out because of what do. We get burned out because we forget why we do it.”
  • “Don’t chase success. Instead, decide to make a difference with a greater purpose, and success will find you.”
  • “The research shows that people are most energized when they are using their strengths for a bigger purpose beyond themselves.”
  • “We are all just ordinary people with the power to live an extraordinary purpose. In any job, your purpose waits for you to find it and live it.”
  • “The true is that numbers and goals don’t drive people. People with a purpose drive the number and achieve goals.”
  • “Research clearly shows that true motivation is driven by meaning and purpose rather than extrinsic rewards, numbers, and goals.”
  • “It’s great to have a goal you want to achieve, but once you identify a goal or outcome, you will be more powerful and energize if you are tapping into a bigger purpose in order to reach your numbers and goals.”
  • “Yes, count the fruit, but know it’s just a byproduct of how well you are nurturing the root.”
  • “Researchers conducted a study and they asked a group of 95-year-olds if they could live their lives over again, what they would do differently. The three things that almost all of them said were:
    • They would reflect more. They would enjoy more moments, more sunrises, more sunsets, more moments of joy.
    • They would have taken more risks and chances. Life is too short not to go for it.
    • They would have left a legacy, something that would have lived on after they die.”
  • “Love powers grit, and it also powers you over fear. I’ve heard it said that fear is the second most powerful force in the universe because it’s the one thing that can keep us from our vision, goals, and dreams. Thankfully, there’s a force more powerful than fear, and it is love.”
  • “Failure is a big part of your path to success. It’s not your enemy. It is your partner in growth. It doesn’t define you; it refines you. If you didn’t fail, you wouldn’t build the character you need to succeed. When you have grit, you fail and you move forward. You see it as an event, not a definition. You leave the past and let it go. The path to greatness is never behind you. Just keep moving forward. Failure and challenge are just part of the journey. There’s no accomplishment without struggle. No triumph without tests and failures along the way.”
  • “Your identity doesn’t come from what the world says about you. It comes from who you are on the inside.”
  • “When you become a positive leader, you will not only make yourself better, but you will also make everyone around you better–and that’s a great place to start!”

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