In episode 10 we are talking about the trait amazing leaders have when it comes to optimism and how, quite frankly, they all seem to be realistically optimistic. Or, the term that I use is an optimistic realist.
The best leaders aren’t problem avoiders, remember, we said they are the master of their fate. In order to be that, they know they have to see the world for what it is. They can’t only allow themselves to see 25% of the problem because then they will only be able to provide 25% of the solution. The best leaders we admire and follow are those that are realistic about the world and the situations at hand. They know that they can overcome whatever they face, which is where their optimism comes in. But they also are very aware of the fact that they can only overcome a problem they fully acknowledge.
That is the key. Anyone can be blindly optimistic. True leaders are optimistic realists in that they control their path, they see the path for what it is (remember, life isn’t supposed to be easy), they face it head-on, and because they know they aren’t afraid to see the problems and face them, they are optimistic about the next steps.
Remember the series I finished before this one, where I talked about restructures? Your best leader will look at a restructure, face it head-on, understand the ins and outs, and walk out telling the entire team why the restructuring is a good thing. Why it will improve the business, improve customer service, and improve the lives of the people that will be let go–realizing those individuals need to successfully forge a path down another road and the restructure is giving them a chance to do that. They see the silver lining in everything.
The challenge for you today is to ask yourself if you are an optimistic realist? If yes, keep going. If not, today’s the day you can start to be. Ask yourself why you shy away from seeing the full problem or avoid the hard issues, or maybe it is the optimism that is holding you back. Decide which piece of the process it is, optimism or realism, and tackle it.