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Blog - Are there down sides to positive thinking for leaders?

Are there down sides to positive thinking for leaders?

Posted by Tracy Powley 07/09/17

Are there down sides to positive thinking for leaders? 

So many articles and guidelines out there urge leaders to practise positive thinking … the latest one we came across suggests we should be “relentlessly positive” and that “good enough” is not actually good enough.

But is that realistic?

Is that not setting us up to fail?

And how do we reconcile that with the drive to be “authentic leaders”? Shouldn’t we acknowledge that being human means we will feel disappointed and frustrated at times?

Of course, that frustration and disappointment needs to be expressed appropriately, but being unceasingly positive in the face of adversity will often come across as disingenuous, surely?

Being upbeat, looking for the silver lining and overall optimism about the future can be hugely motivational when leading, but we would advocate that there needs to be a balance and room for honest responses to difficult situations.

That balance can come from having an emphasis on problem solving, decision making and looking for the learning in difficult situations - all of which can lead to effective and positive outcomes and may often be a more sincere and helpful response than blindly and constantly telling people everything is fine and dandy! 

You may also like our other blogs on leadership The downside of complementary leadership styles 

And simple things we can do to increase leadership effective ness Leadership 

We offer a range of support to help develop and support your leaders at every level.

For more information give us a call on 01903 732 782 or email us on  to discuss how we can help.

Tracy Powley
Tracy Powley

Stella Chandler and I founded Focal Point on a shared belief that a training course run in isolation doesn't work. We passionately believe there must be support both before and after the training or coaching session itself for it to make a difference. When I am not facilitating sessions with clients or looking at ways to grow the Focal Point business, you will find me in a calming yoga class...

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