Optimism Fuels Future Leaders

Optimism Fuels Future Leaders

Optimism is an activating force. It invigorates us when facing overwhelming obstacles. It helps us to envision a promising future and pursue compelling goals. ~ Danita Bye
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Stuck tractors, leading Millennials and Paradoxical Wisdom…where is the link?

Finally, I’m in the home stretch of completing my book filled with tips and talking points for business and sales leaders committed to developing Millennials to grow their business and sales force. While working on the book, I reflected on Leadership Shift: Paradoxical Wisdom for Today’s Leaders, an ebook I wrote years ago.

It was interesting to note that, even though our world has changed so much, the principles of high-character leaders have not changed. Over the next few weeks we’ll look at excerpts from both books.

Excerpt from Leadership Shift: Paradoxical Wisdom for Today’s Leaders

The most optimistic leaders are also the most realistic

On the TTT Ranch in North Dakota, where I grew up, our landscape was dotted with brightly colored tractors in springtime. Tractors were much stronger than horses, but unlike horses, tractors can get stuck in the mud – and stay stuck until the resourceful got them out.

My dad dealt with quite a few stuck tractors over the years.  He never made excuses or blamed anyone or anything. Most importantly, he never settled for a stuck tractor.  Carefully and thoroughly, he assessed all the aspects of a problem or situation.  The simple fact of a stuck tractor – literal or metaphorical – was no match for the internal resources at his disposal.  This wasn’t blind optimism. His attitude toward adversity was one of hopeful realism.

When leaders have a realistic hope that their hard work will produce positive results, they become more motivated.  Researchers tell us that hopeful leaders are tied to improved creativity, increased productivity, and enhanced critical thinking skills.

Excerpt from Leading Millennials:

Millennials and Optimism

According to a 2014 survey conducted by Vision Critical, 26 percent of Millennials feel “unfulfilled” in the workplace. In addition, 31 percent of respondents cited a “lack of advancement opportunities” as a major factor in their unhappiness at work.

But when we look at other studies, Millennials appear to be, in general, more optimistic about the future than their parents.  This “gap” provides the perfect opportunity for experienced leaders to tap into the natural optimism of Millennials and support them in a constructive way.

This is not a rose-tinted-glasses brand of optimism. Don’t worry, be happy, doesn’t quite cut it. A true optimist is aware of the issues at hand, and yet, makes a deliberate choice to stay positive. No matter what is happening around you, focusing on the possible solutions is key.

Remind Millennials that their resources are greater, and they are more flexible than the adverse conditions they face. Do this by sharing from your wealth of personal experience in overcoming daunting challenges.

Optimistic people know their hard work will eventually produce positive results. This energy quickly spreads and their environment becomes motivating and inspiring. This is precisely the kind of mindset we, as experienced leaders want to instill in Next Gen business and sales leaders.  The same principles work when developing current and future sales teams – they will be able to deal creatively with challenges to grow the business…and not get stuck.

​​© Copyright Danita Bye, 2017


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