Book:  The Power of Positive Leadership

Author:  Jon Gordon

Purchase:  PrinteBookAudiobook

Citation:  Gordon, J. (2017). The Positive Leader. Somerset: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated.

Three Big Takeaways:

  • You are not allowed to complain unless you also offer one or two possible solutions. (pg. 80)

  • One superintendent writes a personal note of congratulations to every graduating senior.  The same superintendent also sends each student a note on their birthday. (pg. 129)

  • Many think that positive leaders are nice, undisciplined, happy-go-lucky people who smile all the time and believe that results are not important. But this couldn't be further from the truth. Positive leaders are demanding without being demeaning - they both challenge and encourage their teams and organizations to continue to improve and get better. (pg. 139)

Other Key Ideas:

  • Pessimists and naysayers don’t change the world....Throughout history we see that it’s the optimists, the believers, the dreamers, the doers, and the positive leaders who changed the world. (pg. 9)

  • As a positive leader, you can’t just show the way and talk about the way.  You must also lead the way. You must live your culture and know that it is an extension of who you are as a leader.  If you don’t set the example and live the values, your culture won’t come to life. (pg. 21)

  • Research from Harvard supports that idea that the emotions you feel are contagious and affect the people around you...As a leader your attitude, energy, and leadership is contagious, and it impacts your culture. (pg. 22)

  • In order to rally people to follow you, you must be able to articulate and communicate your vision in a simple, clear, bold, and compelling way. (pg. 32)  Leaders should have a vision and a purpose in one statement. They are stronger together. (pg. 155)

  • During 1:1 conversations, you should share the vision and ask each person to identify what it means to him or her.  You will do with this with your direct reports, and then each person you lead will do this with their direct reports, and so on throughout the organization. (pg. 39)

  • When tragic events occur, we have a choice in the narrative we tell after the event.  When adversity hits, you can chose to tell yourself and the world a positive story and work passionately to create a positive outcome. (pg. 54-55) 

  • If transforming the negativity (of an employee) doesn’t work, you must remove that employee.  Your job as a leader is to create an environment where your people can do their best work without being affected by an energy vampire. (pg. 77)

  • You can’t be an energy vampire and be a great leader.  You can’t be negative and build a positive, high-performing team. (pg. 84)

  • As a leader...you want to make sure you are connecting with everyone in your organization...When you make time to connect with your team and create unity by bringing people together, performance will rise to create a united and connected organization. (pg. 89)

  • This approach leading by wandering can be called “taking the temperature of a building...When walking around he would ask people, “What’s the temperature today?” (pg. 109)

  • Never underestimate the power of a smile.  As a positive communicator, you have the power to make someone feel better just by smiling. (pg. 111)

  • Positive leaders and communicators listen to and welcome ideas and suggestions on how they can improve. They don't fear criticism. They welcome it, knowing it makes them better. (pg. 112)

  • Positive leaders rely on nonverbal communication. They encourage through nods, facial expressions, high fives, handshakes, pat on the back, fist-bumps, and even hugs when appropriate. (pg. 112)

  • Positive leaders are humble and hungry. They don't think they know it all. They are lifelong Learners who are always seeking ways to learn, improve, and grow. (pg. 13)

  • Researchers conducted the study and they asked a group of 90 year olds if they could live their lives over again what they would do differently. The three things that almost all of them said were: 1) They would reflect more. They would enjoy more moments, more sunrises, more moments of joy, 2) They would have taken more risks and more chances. Life is too short not to go for it, and 3) They would have left a legacy, something that would have lived on after they die.

  • Angela Duckworth’s research identifies grit as the number one predictor and factor of success. It's not talent, title, wealth, or good looks. It's grit, the ability to work hard for long period of time towards a goal; to preserve, overcome, and keep moving forward in the face of adversity, failure, rejection, and obstacles. (pg. 169)   

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