I meet a lot of new people. And that means that frequently I’m asked what I “do”. It would be wonderful if I could develop and remember an “elevator speech” that really encapsulated it; but faced with that situation in real time, I find myself saying a variety of different things. Most of the time I want to simplify it and say something like “I help companies keep their customers happy,” or “I teach Positive Leadership and Customer Loyalty.”
I’ve noticed that frequently I get asked the question, “What is Positive Leadership?
I usually answer by telling what it isn’t. “It isn’t the opposite of Negative Leadership.”
In fact it’s an intentional style of leadership. It’s primarily derived from the “evidence based” findings of a new science called “Positive Psychology”
Eight years ago I got hooked on studying the fascinating findings of what has been called the “Science of Happiness”. Dr. Martin Seligman (the Founding Father of the science) was looking for about 1000 people around the world that he could train to take his work (which was at the time was called “Authentic Happiness”) out into their worlds with the end result of raising the level of happiness and well being of the planet. While that sounds a little new-agey, it’s a good idea based solidly in science.
Positive emotions have such a profound impact on the human system (and the organizational system) that anyone who believes that they can ignore the deliberate creation of positive emotions (called building “Positive Capacity”) in the creation of customer loyalty today is missing out on the most powerful, cost effective and rewarding tool that exists.
Positive leaders build the capacity for experiencing more positive emotions at work.
Shaun Achor, author of “The Happiness Advantage” and former Harvard Professor says that “Happiness is the single greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy” and that as a result of this happiness every business outcome improves.
Tony Hsieh, the young CEO of billion dollar Zappos, has built an empire on the simple positive psychology principles that he translated into passion, purpose and the positivity that leads to profits.
Positive Leadership explores and adopts the appropriate practices of “Positive Deviation”.
We search inside and outside a company for pockets of success – for people and places where extraordinary things are happening. We study, we analyze based on what we know about our own culture, we discuss, we experiment, and we stay open to what the new sciences are teaching us.
Almost daily in the field of Neuroscience we are learning something new and fabulous about the workings of the human brain. In the last ten years we have learned more about the functioning human brain (due to the fMRI- the functional MRI machine) than we ever knew. We now know that the brain is “plastic” – able to change and grow well into our old age. We also know that customer loyalty is closer to customer “love” based on where it shows up in the brain.
New methods abound for creating new positive habits and letting of the old ones as we build new neural pathways. We’ve discovered that “neurons that fire together wire together” and use that information to create positive habits of leadership and relationship.
Positive Leadership is based on two kinds of value.
(I call that Value2.). It is driven from the core values the company and the leader hold and the focus on creating value for the customer.
What are your values? (If you don’t know – or want to update them with your team, I have a tool here.) How do you live them?
Positive leaders examine how they live those values and how they walk their talk.
Positive leaders look for ways to talk about the values – usually by telling stories – every day in many different activities.
Positive Customer Focused Leaders are also focused on creating value for customers – internal and external.
They are always asking themselves “How can I create value?” and “How did I create value today?” They are always focusing attention on the creation of value by asking, “How have you created value today?” and then patiently listening and coaching until people understand the role they play in the overall success of the company. When every person in the company is focused on value creation the customer feels it!
Positive Leadership is authentic.
It’s real. Don’t fake it until you make it. Examine who you are, what your values are and how you really want to show up in the world.Practice it daily with intention. If at first it feels a little funny, that’s okay. Change does usually take a little time.
Positive Leadership comes from the heart.
That’s not something I learned from a teacher or a book, it’s something I learned from being in the business community for over three decades. The best leaders have a quality of heart that makes them good listeners, good learners and good teachers. They lack the kind of egos that focus on their needs and so are open to understanding the needs of others. The best leaders are humble.
I’ve got a lot more to say about Positive Leadership and how it helps build strong relationships with internal and external customers. I will share more soon, in other tips.
Lead with your heart,