"In my experience as a senior executive in the competitive and fast-paced sporting goods industry, I have seen my share of good leaders.

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Vinegar or Honey? The Leadership Style You Need to Adopt Today

We’ve all heard the expression “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” – but can sweetness work effectively in the office? The best leaders aren’t dictators, and any leadership style can benefit from a little introspection. Take the time today to see if you’re leading in the most effective way possible.

 What Do You Focus On?

When we’re busy, we often formulate a “plan of attack” based on what’s going wrong and what needs improvement. It seems logical, but this negative outlook can hold you back as a leader. Unlike conventional problem solving, Appreciative Inquiry is a full-spectrum solutions-based method that upends negativity and works with our strengths and successes. You could ask, “What’s going wrong? What needs to be fixed? Why is this project failing?” and then feel overwhelmed and uninspired by the mountain before you. Or, you could ask “What are our greatest strengths? In what areas are we very successful? What are we succeeding at today? Why are we successful in these areas?” and use the positive energy to translate the successes and strengths of one area onto the weaknesses and problems of another area. Your staff will look to you for direction: if you base your focus on the positives, they too will be more energized, inspired, and better equipped to get the job done.

Whom Would You Want to Work With?

Lead by example: this simple philosophy demands real action from managers and CEOs. If you want your staff to help one another, to work together as a team, or to go the extra mile for colleagues and customers, then you have to lead the way. Simply ask yourself what kind of person you would want to work with – and then follow through by behaving in that way. Teamwork is a reciprocal relationship, but the good vibes have to begin somewhere: you. So be inspiring, listen carefully, and demonstrate your care and commitment in your words and actions. When you are passionate about your business, others can’t help but feel engaged as well. Sometimes, all it takes is for one person to do something above and beyond for the good effects to be felt throughout the organization. 

Whose Happiness Comes First?

We’re programmed to think of every conflict as a win/lose scenario: in order for one party to be happy, the other must be unhappy. This simplistic philosophy derails strong leaders across the nation. Happiness need not be mutually exclusive; in fact, happiness, (e.g. employee engagement), can be achieved through a cyclical, almost karmic relationship. Managers often conflate the unhappiness of their staff as a means to an end: satisfying their customers. But considering how happy employees are more likely to provide excellent service, strong knowledge and a personable attitude, it stands to reason that a manager should aim to have both happy staff and clients.  

Your leadership style sets the tone for the workplace. Yes, part of your job is to make tough decisions, face difficult challenges head-on and confront unpleasant situations. But a simple change in attitude and a conscious effort to embody positivity can work wonders on you, your business and your staff. Initiate the first step in positive thinking, looking for win-win solutions and enabling real team spirit and the positive reverberations are sure to be felt across the organization.

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Julie Nimmons

Julie Nimmons

Julie uses her 30 years’ experience to help CEOs, executives and business owners in her Vistage Group find success in their businesses and personal lives. With positive leadership, a firm sense of prioritization and the commitment to lifelong learning, Julie’s creates a constructive workspace for Group members where honesty, innovation and cooperation can flourish.