It is no secret that the past few years have lacked certainty or stability. It only takes a few seconds of searching the internet, watching the news or looking at social media to be reminded of some aspect of doom and gloom going on in the world. It can be easy for us to get focused on the negative, and it certainly does not help when headlines highlight this angle.
As a manager or leader within your organization, it has become increasingly important to home in on your abilities to find and bring optimism to your culture and team. Optimism is hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.
For some people, this outlook may come more naturally; for many of us, this will take active effort.
“Some people are optimistic by nature, but many of us learn optimism as well. Anyone can learn to be optimistic. The trick is to find purpose in work and life,” says Dr. Leah Weiss, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business who specializing in mindfulness in the workplace and was quoted in an NBC News article about optimism.
With the New Year upon us, here are seven steps that bank executives and directors can take to proactively move to a more-optimistic orientation in 2022.
- Reflect on 2021 and write down some things that you are grateful for. Try not to let your immediate thoughts or mood of the day drive your reflections.
- Evaluate who you spend your time with. Plan to spend more time around people that you consider positive.
- Communicate goals and what success looks like for your organization this year.
- Create a plan to celebrate the small wins that you will encounter in the year ahead. It will be easier to celebrate personally and with your team if you have a tentative plan ahead of time.
- Take time to acknowledge small things you appreciate about your employees and coworkers. If you are in a remote environment this may just be a quick text, team’s message or email.
- Everyone had their own version of 2021, and giving them an opportunity and outlet to express their experience and decompress could create more space for being optimistic about the future.
- Watch less news and read fewer headlines.
We may not know what this next year will bring exactly but certainly there will be a mix of good and bad to come. “Positive thinking does not mean that you ignore life’s stressors. You just approach hardship in a more productive way,” says Kimberly Hershenson, a licensed master social worker, in the same article.
With some small steps of proactiveness, hopefully we can help shift our own mindset and those around us to identify, appreciate and rally around the positive. If we can do this, we can inspire more unity and alignment within our organizations, drive more loyalty from our teams and in turn produce more positive results for our organizations.