The Importance Of Leading With Positivity

Positive academic leaders are invariably necessary and worthwhile


Kay Copeland

Success is inevitable when leaders choose to lead with a positive frame of mind.

Are leaders with a negativity-spreading mindset ever justified? Some may argue that this stubborn and relentless form of leadership is needed for reasons such as discipline. To that I say: rarely. 

More often than not, leading with a mindset of positivity is the correct choice to make. Yet there remains a select few in leadership roles, such as teachers, bosses, parents and guardians, whose pessimism proves harmful to those below them. 

To be a positive leader includes much more effort than just looking on the bright side. It encompasses empowering and respecting the ones that you lead. Those who practice positive leadership tackle issues head-on when they arise, and use their optimistic mindset to move forward in a healthy and professional manner. 

These types of leaders look for the silver lining in every situation and are not quick to express anger and disappointment. Most importantly, these leaders focus on the strengths of those that they lead, rather than the weaknesses. 

In professional settings, particularly in schools, positive leadership is more than a recommendation; it is a necessity. Being a positive leader is the aspect that differentiates between fulfilled students and unmotivated students. 

Here’s an example: reflect on your all-time favorite teacher. What made them your favorite? What kind of impact did they have on your life? Chances are, you listed off reasons such as “they always supported me and pushed me towards success,” or “they were really kind and understanding.” You probably walked into class every day with a smile on your face. This teacher most likely had a grand influence on you. 

Now, think about your all-time least favorite teacher. Why were they your least favorite? They might have been overly critical in one way or another. They may have lacked compassion or consideration. They could have even insulted you or treated you with little to no respect. I’ll bet that you felt completely drained in this teacher’s class and could not have waited for the bell to ring. 

The point is that both your favorite and least favorite teachers had an impact on you, but for completely opposing reasons. This proves that positivity has the power to push you forward and motivate you, while negativity solely has the power to diminish your light. Both spreading positivity and receiving positivity are beneficial in multiple ways. Even with this, it’s been found that negative remarks reign over young minds.

Leaders, I ask of you to keep in mind that your words, comments, and responses hold a great deal of importance. The manner in which you choose to interact with those beneath you determines much more than you may comprehend.

A study conducted by the University of Indiana discovered that praising and encouraging words were perceived by children as more helpful and positive than discouraging words. Additionally, discouraging words were found to be as potent as praising words, and even more potent than encouraging words. 

This data tells us that children and adolescents especially require an environment full of optimism and support. When this type of atmosphere isn’t provided (or frankly, when the leader has multiple negative traits not allowing for this atmosphere to exist), there’s potential for a child to spiral into a vortex of self-doubt and self-deprecation.

Leaders, I ask of you to keep in mind that your words, comments, and responses hold a great deal of importance. The manner in which you choose to interact with those beneath you determines much more than you may comprehend. 

Those who work with children and teens specifically, please make an effort to treat your students with respect and compassion. When issues arise, don’t fret. Instead, deal with it in a professional manner then move on. When it comes to the realm of discipline, don’t punish for the sole reason to punish; don’t berate your students just because you have the power to. There is an abundance of more effective disciplinary strategies

When the environment is light, students come to school gleefully ready to learn. A positive classroom culture also allows more time devoted to learning, along with an increase in the enjoyment of teaching.

Positive leadership is by no means effortless. It requires willingness and daily intention to provide enrichment. More than anything, to be a positive leader requires taking into consideration the wellbeing of those that you lead.