Working in public, workplace and leadership engagement, I can guarantee one thing — in any group discussion there will be positive voices and negative voices. That’s not a paradigm-shattering observation, but it still fascinates me that some folks, when discussing possibilities and potential, insist on seeing the glass half empty even if it’s evident that the cup overfloweth (old school vocabulary for nothin’ but awesomeness).

WeAreWhatWeThinkNo matter what the situation, we have a choice about how we perceive it and respond to it. New ideas? We can believe “it’ll never work” or we can believe, “we’ll never know until we try”. Which option leads to innovation? Which one leads to solutions?

Negative thinking is defended as being prudent or cautious. But it’s not, it’s just limiting and obstructionist. Negative thinkers don’t take risks as they’d rather be safe than wrong. If they don’t believe then they won’t fail because they didn’t try. They can’t wrap their heads around positive perspectives or see untapped potential. That’s no way to lead, it’s a way to get left behind. And what a shame that is.

As Ralph Marston said, “Being positive in a negative situation is not naïve. It’s leadership.” 

In our fast-changing world, innovation, positivity and a belief in what can be spur ideas that become reality. Positive thinking drives the ideas that cure disease, foster kindness, solve problems or create the “next big thing”.

Who wants to follow a negative thinker? If you’re uninspired at work, consider how positive your leadership is. Here are five questions to help you determine if you’re a positive leader:

1) Are my comments productive and helpful?

2) Do I find the good, the possible, the potential, in any situation?

3) Are my people more motivated, confident and focused as a result of my feedback?

4) Do I see my (positive) attitude reflected in the people around me?

5) Do I see opportunity in challenges and a positive path to achieving objectives?

This approach is not about seeing the world through rose-coloured glasses or “positivity blinders” or any other kind of happy-inducing eyewear. Problems still happen, people disappoint, goals aren’t always reached. But negative thinking ensures that negative outcomes prevail.

Positive thinking, positive actions and positive leadership ensure that the best possible outcome is always achieved, from “ok” to “freakin’ awesome”. And this positivity champion will take that over the safety of negativity every time.

Public, workplace and leadership engagement professional, Maureen “Mo” Douglas is a radically positive agent for change. Click here for Mo’s FREE e-Guide to Better Public Engagement. Follow her on Twitter.