How to Lead from Possibilities

Lead Positive
Problems are always with us, but we don’t want to lead from problems. Lead from possibilities. Lead from the why. Lead with courage.

Kathryn Cramer calls this Lead Positive. “When you think, speak, and act out of the positive side of the ledger, others feel more hopeful and confident about the future.”

Cramer has created a 3-step process for reframing what we see, say and do so that we operate more from a positive outlook than a negative one.

What they SEE – how to see more of the possibilities than the problems of any given situation
What they SAY – how to connect the positive things you see to what you say to others
What they DO – how to use the positive trajectory of what you see and say to act intentionally

Cramer is the co-author with Hank Wasiack of the very good, Change the Way You See Everything Through Asset-based Thinking. She has taken those principles and applied them specifically to leaders and leadership. She writes:
Asset-based thinking (ABT) means to look at yourself and the world through the eyes of what is working, what strengths are present, and what the potentials are. [Reminds me a bit of the ideas found in Moneyball.] Conversely, deficit-based thinking means to look at yourself and the world in terms of what is not working, what is lacking, and the gaps between where you are and where you want to be.
Deficit-based thinking tends to be our default and is very draining on both ourselves and those around you. So ABT has to be a deliberate choice. ABT builds on what is working with people and in situations.

Our most difficult situations – the negative ones – are the ones that will benefit most from positive or asset-based thinking. For example, when people disagree with us it can quickly turn to anger. Cramer suggests that the best ABT strategy in response to conflicting points of view is to “be curious enough to find out why people oppose you.” It’s not about finding common ground – areas of agreement – but finding commonality – getting to a place where opposing parties understand where each other is coming from. “Curiosity sows the seeds of trust and creates opportunities to see value in somebody else’s points. When conflicting parties trust and can see the value in each other’s positions.”

Leading positive begins with you. It begins first with knowing your own assets – “to know beyond a shadow of a doubt who you are and what you are capable of.” We operate out of a perceptual set that biases our attention and what we see in any given situation. And that affects how we engage with those we lead.

Once you see yourself from a positive perspective you leverage the positive assets in the people around you.

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Of Related Interest:
  Asset-Based Thinking
  Change the Way You See Yourself

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