Grounded Optimism

Managing change at the same time as running the everyday operations of a business can be overwhelming. Listen to any executive and you will hear of back-to back meetings, boards to chair, a million e-mails to answer and governance to comply with. Constant change combined with overwhelming demands can result in fatigue and cynicism. At times, it’s easy to give in, let the head go down and be swallowed up by events. Leaders can slip into a pessimistic mind set.

The opposite of this is blind optimism that ‘high fives’ into thin air with little grounding in reality. Blind optimism can lead to false hope, unrealistic expectations and ultimately back to cynicism and pessimism.

The healthy alternative is grounded optimism, which enables leaders who wish to go the distance, to thrive and not simply survive. Research highlights the beneficial psychological characteristics of being optimistic. People high in optimism tend to maintain better moods and physical health, to persevere more and to be more successful.

Optimism can be chosen.

Optimism can be learnt.

Resilient leaders are those who do not get stuck in cynicism and can move beyond blind optimism to the place where they are clear-eyed. Grounded optimism allows a leader to re-imagine the situation where they are able to become an actor in the scene with a significant role to play. They can see all of the challenges that lie ahead, and take responsibility for what they can do to find a realistic path to a better future.