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Tough times? Great leaders!

Tough times? Great leaders!

As Martin Luther King Jr. said: The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm. It is easy! You just have to pay attention, know in which direction you are headed, and go with the flow.

On the other hand, when the sea is not calm and going with the flow is not an option, true leaders step up and take command. And that’s what makes them great.

Great leadership is not required when things go well and conditions are perfect. Great leadership is required when challenges appear, difficult situations arouse, and the team needs support and direction. Real leaders are the ones that calm the turbulent sea, show confidence, and point the way out of it.

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Douglas MacArthur defined true leadership like this:

A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.

In most cases, it’s easiest to identify true leaders when things go wrong.

Here are three traits that define great leaders:

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They are proud of who they are

Even when circumstances are not ideal, great leaders believe in their organization, their employees (or followers) and their culture. They are proud of who they are and what they represent and never doubt their identity. When things go wrong and the organization comes under pressure, this awareness becomes even more important and allows them to go on in spite of whatever challenges present themselves.

In changing times, leaders need to stay true to their vision and reiterate organizational values so that everyone rows in the same direction. A strong corporate culture can turn fear into confidence and become the best protection against difficult situations.

In the end, any team, department or organization needs to be, above all, a common cause for each one of its members.

We vs. I

Great leaders take responsibility when things don’t work and share successes when things go well. No matter why the team failed, he or she is the one to blame. This is how they create the conditions that allow the team to make mistakes, speak honestly and find fulfillment.

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In other words, they use “We” instead of “I” and – ALWAYS – put the interest of the organization ahead of their own self-interest.

Great leaders create more leaders by empowering others and allowing them to make mistakes. Everyone has permission to fail, as long as they fail fast and passionately!

They NEVER quit

As Vince Lombardi said:

Winning is not a sometime thing; it is an all-time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit.

Winners never quit and quitters never win! Great leaders plan to win, prepare to win, and play to win. And even more importantly, they never give up. Even if the journey gets tough and the light at the end of the tunnel begins to dim, they are able to get back on track and move forward.

Resilience is part of their DNA — they possess the  ability to fall and stand up quickly, learn from past mistakes and focus on the road ahead. When they are put to the test, they stay strong and keep going. And that’s how they succeed.

Remember: Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.

Featured photo credit: Surian Soosay via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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