In our first article in the »Leadership of the Future« series, we looked at the core tasks of leadership – and noted that due to digitalization, agility and VUCA conditions, managing relationships has evolved into a new leadership focus. More than ever, there is a need for a leader to be a coach and an enabler, who creates positive tension in the team and promotes relationships. In this article, we again take a look at relationships – from the perspective of »Positive Leadership«.

Relationships – both private and professional – can rob or give energy, keep a person small or make her or him strong, lead to insecurity or promote self-confidence. This aspect is essential for companies and their managers: Do you as a superior want to be someone to whom employees can turn with confidence and from whom they can draw energy?

The Positive Leadership approach states that employees turn to those leaders who create a positive environment. Leaders, in whose company they feel safe, they can learn and receive support from. Mentors who give trust and enable them to develop. As a metaphor, Positive Leadership uses the heliotropic effect known from biology: All living organisms strive in the direction from which they draw energy. Think, for example, of a sunflower whose blossom is oriented towards the wandering sun.*

Focusing on strengths and talents

This is exactly what Positive Leadership wants. This leadership approach concentrates on perceiving and recognizing the existing positive in human action. Thus, it strengthens the human being as a whole. The negative aspects are not to be negated – rather, the goal is to consciously take a different perspective on reality. This implies, among other things, that we learn equally from successes and failures, instead of only reacting to and punishing mistakes. The focus is directed away from shortcomings and weaknesses – which does not mean that they are ignored. Rather, people are led by the conviction that by consistently strengthening their strengths they can develop and thus overcome their weaknesses. Positive Leadership empowers and encourages employees to personally develop themselves. It creates an atmosphere in the company in which potentials can grow and courageous ideas are welcomed.

What recommendations does Positive Leadership give to you?

Discovering meaningfulness

Especially in a time that is becoming more complex, it is important to know why you should do something. As a manager, take the time to explain to your employees why and, above all, for what purpose an upcoming change is necessary. Talk about the benefits for customers, your company and employees. This promotes understanding and enables you to discover an individual meaning in your own actions.

Promoting high-quality relationships

Maintain relationships that are valuable to everyone involved. Create a framework for you and your employees to treat each other with respect and trust. Daily small friendly gestures are more effective than the »big show« once a month.

Live playful participation

Work can be fun. Do you laugh a lot in your team? Or do you consider lightness and ease at work to be a disruptive factor? As a manager, have a humorous relationship with your employees. Celebrate milestones. Celebrate success. This promotes team spirit.

Giving active support

Offer active support to others and let your employees shine. What can you do to help your team celebrate success? Be an enabler for supportive and motivating teamwork.

Building trust

Give your employees trust. Trust is a quality that grows through positive experience. How can you build trust? Firstly, by giving your employees confidence in their potential and, secondly, by creating opportunities for them to prove themselves. Start with easy things – and then become more and more demanding.

* The »Positive Leadership« approach by Prof. Kim Cameron is based on the findings of Positive Psychology. It was founded by the psychologist Abraham Maslow and further developed by Martin Seligman and Mihály Csíkszentmihályi (»flow« experience).

Finally, a few questions to identify energy robbers and givers and to establish Positive Leadership:

  • Where do I experience energy-robbing or energy-giving situations with other people?
  • What are the concrete behaviors that rob or give energy to me?
  • How can I integrate the energy-giving behaviors into my everyday life more often?
  • How can I make my team aware of the topic of Positive Leadership?
  • How can I as a leader be a role model and a source of energy for my people?

Positive Leadership leads into the future

The manager of the future is characterized by fostering relationships within the company and supporting people in their potential in order to make the company a value-creating as well as appreciative place.

The current article is the third part of a mini-series on »Leadership of the Future«. The further postings:

Photo credits: © | Evdokimov Maxim