A Leader’s Optimism
General Colin Powell [Chairman (Ret.), Joint Chiefs of Staff] in his work, “A Leadership Primer” describes the following principle:
“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”
People and ‘smell’ a phony a mile away. A leader who is out of touch with reality, denying the obvious, or living in a fantasy is quickly dismissed.
But a leader who acknowledges the real challenges faced and sees a bigger solution is one who builds confidence in those they lead. Romans 8:31 says, “…If God is for us, then who can be against us?”
This was the situation Elisha faced when surrounded by an army whose mission it was to capture him. His servant could not see any resources available to deal with this real threat. Elisha however saw God’s resources and pointed his servant to the answer that was right in front of him. He said, “Don’t be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (2 Kgs 6:16)
A leader’s optimism and confidence is God will ripple into the hearts and minds of those around them. It will energize and inspire those who we follow to keep moving forward when we all feel like giving up because of the difficulties we face.
Likewise, pessimism and doubt from a leader is also multiplied as it ripples to those we lead. Those we lead do not necessarily have the experience, maturity, or understanding of the context that we do. Therefore they hear a discouraging word from us their leader and run to the end of their “what if” thinking, spiraling downward as they go. “Well, if this happens, then this… And then this….and this…” Those scenarios almost always are negative and leading us to thinking about the disaster that awaits us.
An optimistic leader is one whose confidence is in God and His resources, not is our own abilities or the resources that we can see. Being confident that God is with us and not forsake us is enough.
What’s the image you are projecting around you? Is is an optimistic tone and environment you are creating?