Aug 06, 2015

1477789_10152791298915678_4946862984534976341_nSometimes negative thoughts can creep in; here’s why leaders should always try to maintain a positive outlook.

Being positive – surrounding yourself with other positive people and believing you CAN do something – is essential to your success as a leader in this or any other business. But it’s not easy. It’s something we all have to work on periodically – some of us more than others. Things go wrong. People disappoint us or, in some cases, actually betray us. Not all problems are “opportunities.” Some of them are just plain old problems! Let me tell you something, Folks. I am 100 percent certain that no one would ever start a company if they weren’t fundamentally an optimist. Too many things can, and probably will, go wrong. That said, I have, at various times in my life, let negative thinking creep in, and, when it does, it’s harmful. Here are some more thoughts on being positive:
  1. If you aren’t positive, you’ll scare your people. When I have sounded the alarm about the status of our bank account, I have had people panic and think our demise was inevitable, even though that was not remotely possible. I even had a fairly senior guy in my employ actually tell a client – or clients; I don’t know – that we were going broke! How harmful is that to your reputation and image?!
  2. Don’t confuse being positive with being delusional. I have run into plenty of people who were the latter in this business over the years – people who absolutely B.S. themselves into thinking everything is great when it is not. So, they don’t do anything they need to do to change course, and it gets worse! I resigned from a board once because the architectural firm absolutely would not make any real effort to cut its costs. They even had their secretaries peeling their fruit. The situation was bad and their delusional thinking – not to be mistaken for positive thinking – was killing them! Be positive, but take action.
  3. You can influence negative people! The next time you are dealing with someone who is negative, start making positive, hopeful statements and watch what happens. It’s very interesting: About 80 percent of the time the negative person will suddenly sound more positive. Don’t underestimate your own power to change things. ​
  4. Positivity is more fun. And fun is important at work. People who are having fun are more creative, work longer, and get along with each other better. Anything you can do to make it more fun at the office is good.
If you want to get a serious jolt of positivity, come to the 2015 Hot Firm Conference and A/E Industry Awards in Boston this September. You don’t need to be a winner to attend. Everyone is welcome! I will be there with my entire family, and I can assure you that you won’t find a more positive group of inspirational people anywhere.
MARK ZWEIG is founder and CEO of Zweig Group. Contact him at mzweig@zweiggroup.com.

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.