Positive Leadership Strategies

Today I had a chance to share strategies at the @Buncee event and wanted to share about positive leadership strategist.


In today’s fast-paced, rapidly changing educational atmosphere, leaders, and districts need to create positive work environments for their staff. Although this is challenging for every leader, it’s critical to navigate these uncharted waters for all educators and their wellness. Positive leadership is not a topic of conversation just because of Covid-19, but the drastic shifts we are all facing are reminders of just how important positive leadership strategies are.

As a leader, you directly influence the behaviors of others. Palmer Parker (an author, educator, and activist who focuses on issues in education, community, leadership, spirituality, and social change) said, “A leader is a person who has an unusual degree of power to project on other people his shadow or his light.” Coupling this with the current needs of schools to open up to change and new possibilities, and being a positive educational leader is even more paramount.  During my research at Boston College, I looked at positive leadership and its impact on school culture. What I learned was, positive leadership makes a difference in productivity, satisfaction, and happiness at work. It also makes it easier to trust colleagues and it becomes safer to open up to change.

Positive leadership embraces the idea that focusing on the growth potential of staff, and shifting from the distractions of constraints and toxic culture, empowers people to do, and be, their best. It looks simple, but it’s easier said than done. Positive leadership requires embracing positive possibilities and dealing with the criticism that goes along with it. It requires leaders to look for potential – even in situations, or in people, in which/whom you cannot find anything positive. Being a positive leader does not require an increase in budget or a change in school plans. Rather, it takes the courage to cultivate a team’s well-being. Below are some strategies I recommend to support you in your journey to be a positive leader:

Attitude is contagious: Positive teams are productive teams. Confident and supportive cultures are more collaborative and creative, and ultimately attract, hard-working, talented people.

Enthusiasm is motivational: When you lead with a positive attitude in a supportive climate, people will go above and beyond what is necessary. When people feel appreciated, they become more confident and productive.

Positivity creates resilience: The road to success is full of difficulties, obstacles, and challenges. When you have an optimistic perspective, those things become minor setbacks and not overwhelming morale killers. The better your attitude, the quicker you rebound. When people see your resilience, they feel braver and hardier themselves.

Optimism improves problem-solving: Optimism allows you to see beyond the problem and recognize potential solutions. Hopeful people are less likely to wallow in frustration and discouragement.

Unity creates connected teams: Positive leaders unite instead of divide. They can create unity, which is the difference between a great team and an average team. It starts at the top. As a positive leader, you must be a unifier and connector who fosters relationships between others.

Positive leaders lead with purpose: Hard work doesn’t make us tired. A lack of purpose is what makes us tired. Leaders don’t get burned out because of what we do. We get burned out because we get pulled away from why we do it. Have purpose-driven goals.

Positive leaders pursue excellence: Not satisfied with the status quo; positive leaders pursue excellence. Ask yourself, “How can I get better to make the school/district/ my staff better?”

Unfortunately, leadership cannot be “fixed” just by applying a new technique. No program, policy, or project will do the trick. Instead, leaders need new lenses to look at leadership – and rewire it. Great leaders aren’t born, they’re made. Your attitude is your superpower. We have the POWER to be POSITIVE every day!

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