Studies have shown that watching or hearing negative stories in the news can affect a person’s mood. Negative feelings may not be the result of the amount of news people hear, but rather the way the stories are told. Everyone is a broadcaster. A person’s friends, family, and coworkers are his or her audience. The things people choose to talk about each day have a direct effect on their moods and the moods of those around them. In her work with the Institute for Applied Positive Research (IAPR), Michelle Gielan has come to three conclusions:
- People’s stories are a reflection of their mind-sets. Positive stories fuel hope and inspire others, even in difficult situations.
- People’s stories can predict their success in business, education, and health.
- Everyone is a broadcaster. People are constantly broadcasting information to others.
A person does not have to be in a position of power to influence others with positivity. In fact, research conducted with Fortune 100 companies found the top three predictors of success to be:
1. Work optimism. Those who can take a realistic look at work challenges and believe they can make a difference are more likely to be successful.
2. Positive engagement. People who see stress as a challenge rather than a threat are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs.
3. Support provision. Those who support others at work are less likely to experience burnout.
Great leaders must be aware of the fact that each of the seven mindsets has a corresponding dark side:
- High aspirations: Aspirations should not be about self; rather, leaders should focus on the mission and gain team buy-in.
- Courage: Leaders should not be lone heroes; success will come from a team effort.
- Resilience: Leaders should avoid pointless battles. They should fight only for prizes worth the effort, where success is assured, or when there is no other way to achieve the goal.
- Positive: Leaders should avoid denial, recognizing and dealing with problems as they arise.
- Collaborative: Leaders should not chase popularity but instead earn trust and respect.
- Accountability: Leaders must not try to do everything by themselves.
- Growth: Leaders must drive toward action, recognizing that learning is a means, not an end.
According to Owen, there are three different types of mindsets:
- The accountable mindset, in which leaders control their own destinies and shape the world.
- The corporate mindset, where managers perform within an established framework, like a cog in a machine.
- The victim mindset, which causes people to feel helpless in the face of the world around them.
Truly successful leaders believe they are accountable for what happens to them and for their own feeling. They also believe that challenges are opportunities to learn and grow, that other successful leaders are role models rather than competitors, and that they have the talent to succeed.
Leaders can cultivate accountable mindsets by celebrating success and learning from it, always evaluating why things went well. They should face brutal facts and learn from them, and look to the future without engaging in the blame game. They should learn from both the good and bad experiences of others, and avoid judging or being overly critical.