NCLS Research

Optimism: Build a Culture of Optimism

Strength 9 of the 12 Leadership Strengths
(refer pages 110-115 of Lead with your Strengths)

To Build a Culture of Optimism

One of the strongest motivations for change is hope, and leadership that builds a culture of optimism is more likely to create healthy churches and healthy leaders. An optimistic outlook communicates that change and growth are possible and are more likely to generate positive outcomes – it puts the focus onto the possibilities rather than the problems. While people need to understand the challenges they face and the problems ahead, moving forward will be best achieved by focusing on what they have and what they can do, rather than what they lack or what may appear beyond them. Optimism needs to be part of the leadership culture in churches rather than simply a characteristic of one person. Shared optimism can generate personal growth and a willingness to take new steps and, in turn, successful steps can further increase optimism and personal well-being. Even small wins encourage people to keep going and generate enthusiasm to take another step.

Developing this strength:

  • move beyond a ‘problem focus’ in planning, to a ‘possibility focus’
  • generate a climate of encouragement
  • help everyone to acknowledge and develop their strengths
  • help people to talk about themselves and others optimistically
  • create a safe place where people’s hopes can be aired and explored
  • challenge attitudes of helplessness
  • share stories of hope and small victories
  • resist naming people as ‘problems’
  • pray together optimistically and with confidence

Build a culture of optimism - pointing towards the community’s hopes and dreams, and encouraging people to build on what they have rather than bemoan what they haven’t.

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