Nine Practices for Positive Leadership That Drive Change

Jon Gordon
Motivational speaker Jon Gordon, author of “The Energy Bus” and other best-selling books, kicked off Cultivate’17 with the keynote speech.

Best-selling author and motivational speaker Jon Gordon kicked off Cultivate’17 with the power of positive thinking, urging leaders to inspire, encourage, and empower their employees and let the results speak for themselves. The keynote speaker shared nine ways leaders can build a strong, cohesive team that remains focused and positive.

1. Positive leaders drive positive cultures.
Leaders who identify what values they stand for in business, are committed to living them, and communicate those values to their teams create a culture that is strong enough to withstand negativity and challenges. But it doesn’t end there.

“Your mission statement and your core values are meaningless unless you follow them,” Gordon said.

2. Positive leaders lead with vision.
Leaders need two types of vision to lead: telescopic, for the big picture, and microscopic, for a zoom focus on every day actions. Leadership is merely a transfer of vision.

“If you have a vision, you have the power to make it happen, but only if you let your team know what your vision is,” Gordon said. “Despite circumstances or setbacks, good leaders are always pointing their team where they are going.”

3. Positive leaders lead with optimism and positivity.
Good leaders have the mindset that they will keep moving forward and stay positive, despite obstacles. They don’t give up and always retain their optimism and belief that things will turn out for the best if they keep working hard.

4. Positive leaders confront negativity.
Strong leaders need to create an environment that is so positive that negativity cannot grow. At times that may mean confronting energy vampires (i.e., negative team members) in a positive way, so that negativity doesn’t breed and infect the entire team.

“If you are complaining, you are not leading,” Gordon said. “Complaining is toxic. Focus on solutions.”

5. Positive leaders unite their teams.
Positive leaders connect the organization and create unity, which sets their team apart from a dysfunctional one.

“Team beats talent when talent doesn’t work as a team,” Gordon said.

6. Positive leaders build great relationships.
Leaders who practice the three C’s ─ communicate, connect, commit ─ will find it advances team performance, increases engagement, and improves morale.

“Great leaders communicate to build connections,” Gordon said. “Your team wants to know you are committed to them. The more connected you are, the more committed you will be to your team.”

7. Positive leaders pursue excellence.
Positive leaders can still be competitive. They work at greatness in their organization and inspire others to do the same. The difference is they don’t have to choose between positivity and winning, because positivity leads to winning.

8. Positive leaders lead with purpose.
Leaders who have found their purpose know what drives them, and that drive sustains them through tough times.

“Find your purpose,” Gordon said. “A bigger purpose gives you something to be positive about. Don’t seek happiness; work with passion and purpose, and happiness will find you.”

9. Positive leaders have grit.
“The No. 1 factor of success is grit,” Gordon said. “Vision drives grit, and grit drives you through adversity.”

Jon Gordon is a graduate of Cornell University and holds a Master of Education from Emory University. He has written such best-selling books as “The Energy Bus,” “The Power of Positive Leadership,” and “The Carpenter.” He runs a training and consulting business dedicated to creating positive leaders, organizations, and teams, and has inspired audiences around the world with his motivational talks.

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