Have you ever experienced negativity in the boardroom, in a department or even on a team? If you have you'll know how crippling it is, how it creates paranoia, mistrust and disengagement.
Its therefore crucial that as a leader you're able to combat this by becoming more aware (and up-skilled) in redirecting negative thoughts to positive ones.
A story that resonates is the Cherokee Indian’s - ‘Legend of Two Wolves’. The story illustrates the battle between our good and bad thoughts and goes something like this:
A grandfather is talking with his grandson, he tells him there are two wolves inside us which are always at war with each other. One of them is a wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery and love. The other is a wolf, which represents things like greed, hatred and fear. Listening, the grandson stops and thinks for a second, then he looks up at his grandfather and says, “Grandfather, which one wins?” The grandfather quietly replies, “the one you feed the most”.
Learning how to become more aware of negativity enables us to manage and regulate our thoughts which is, in my opinion, one of the most important skills for anyone in leadership today. Like any skill or behavior it can be developed once we understand the model - A handy 3 step approach which works is;
Firstly, recognize your negativity - This alone is empowering, by identifying the negative thought you’ve given yourself an opportunity to learn from it and a choice on how to react.
Second ask the Question - “What’s this thought doing for me?” or “How is it helping the situation”?
Finally focus on the positive - All events (positive or negative) provide us with a lesson, change or new direction in life, so its worth understanding what you can learn from the negativity.
So, if you’re a leader who wants to inspire people then it might be wise to recognize what Wolf you’re feeding before setting off with the pack.
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