Optimism Impacts Your Emotional Competence

Most of us would probably agree that it’s great to be around people who are optimistic, especially at work.  These silver-lining, sunshiny people simply seem to radiate happiness—and, no matter how dismal the day may be, they tend to find at least one positive aspect to focus upon.  While on occasion their ebullient attitude can be slightly irritating (after all, who can be that happy, right?), overall most people prefer their company to individuals who walk around with a dark cloud looming them.

Although it is nice interact with these oh-so-positive people, is there any other benefit to their presence in the workforce?  Mounting evidence reveals that the Emotional Quotient (EQ) skill of optimism really does transfer into increased productivity and profitability in your Corporate Family®.  Research done by Lyubomirsky, King, and Diener (2005) showed “that positive ‘affect’ (positive emotions like happiness, joy, confidence, and enthusiasm) is associated with better performance reviews, higher productivity, and a lower likelihood of burnout” (review Deb Muoio’s March 2016 blog entitled “The Optimistic vs. The Pessimistic Employee” for more statistics on how optimism affects productivity).

Unfortunately, far too many men and women think that an optimistic outlook is something people are born with—believing they are stuck with the pessimistic personas they now possess.  This couldn’t be further from the truth!  Optimism, like all 25 EQ characteristics, can be improved upon, positively impacting your level of Emotional Competence.   No matter where you fall on the optimistic/pessimistic continuum, you can increase your level of optimism over time.

What are some steps that you and your Corporate Family® members can take to improve your outlook and level of optimism?  According to Shawn Achor, strong relationships are key to becoming and remaining “happy” (see his 2010 book, The Happiness Advantage:  The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work).  The team at LEADon couldn’t agree more.  Indeed, for decades we’ve shared our philosophy that “relationships are the center of the universe” with leaders, nationally and internationally—and we have never had anyone disagree with us.

Another recommendation is to choose to be optimistic.  So much of what we do in life involves choices, and this is certainly true of how we decide to look at life and respond to it.  Part of this process includes intentionally incorporating experiences into your life that bring you joy. As one article expressed it: “Look at the things that make you happy and plan them into your calendar and schedule.  Do not wait for happiness . . . refuse to leave it to chance” (many more ideas on this topic can be found in Eric Baker’s March 2014 TIME article, “6 Secrets You Can Learn from the Happiest People on Earth”).

Finally, everyone tends to develop a more optimistic attitude when surrounded by attitudes of thankfulness.  This is exactly why LEADon® has made a concerted effort to encourage leaders and their teams to create a ‘Culture of Appreciation’ within their Corporate Family®.  Over the years, we have observed previously discouraged and unproductive organizations completely transform as they took steps to actively appreciate one another [see Chapter 7 of The Leading Edge (Wilke & Wilke, 2010) for tangible, inexpensive ways to develop a strong Culture of Appreciation in your Corporate Family®].

Optimism really can make a difference for you, your colleagues, and your clientèle.  The benefits of cultivating this specific EQ characteristic are boundless—with increased productivity and profitability being among them.  If you haven’t done so, we invite you to investigate additional support available to you at LEADon University®, including the Developing Emotional Competency Questionnaire® and the Developing Emotional Competence to Improve Your EQ® online course.  If we can help you in your quest to meet any needs you or your Corporate Family® may have, please contact us as www.LEADonUniversity.com or 858.592.0700 for more personal assistance.