I was struck by something very clearly this weekend while working with a team of students and staff to welcome over 420 accepted students and their families to campus: genuine positivity is contagious.
Let me share a story to highlight this. A student leader came up to me at the end of the day and asked me this question (I paraphrase): How can you remain so calm, cool, and upbeat while all of (series of challenges out of our control) was going on? I responded by asking her what would happen if I didn’t. What would happen if I was flustered, mad, annoyed (at least visibly)? She thought some and came to the realization that it would trickle down. It would impact she and her fellow leaders. From them, it would pass down to the Orientation Leaders they supervise and eventually to our guests; accepted students and their families.
We may not have all the answers, things will go wrong, and we certainly are not perfect. However, if you approach these imperfections and challenges with a positive attitude, you will prevail and others around you will follow. Positivity multiplies, and it does so quickly.
Positivity is my top strength according to StrengthsQuest. Until very recently, I have taken this for granted. What I mean by this is that I never considered my positivity as a strength, rather a personality trait. I now notice more how positivity from a leader or supervisor can motivate, encourage, and empower those he or she is leading.
As contagious as positivity is, negativity is more so. One negative person in a meeting can dampen a mood. One negative encounter with a person during a day filled with many positive interactions can stand out and, in many cases, ruin an otherwise fantastic day. This is why it is vital that leaders lead with positivity. This of course is not easy, but will benefit the organization in the long run. I know at least for me, the happier I am, the better and harder I work.
What do you do to bring positivity into your day and for others around you?