Leadership Learnings: Find the Good

Do you notice how easy it is to find faults, judge others as ‘wrong’, look for what’s not working and point the finger in blame. It’s dead simple to offer up criticism, focus on what’s not working, what we don’t like and say something ‘won’t work’.

So many people seem inherently programmed to look for the bad in things. In many ways they are: their past experiences, education and nurtured paradigm are automatically attuned to be fearful and change adverse. It’s about feeling maintaining control (or the perception of) and safe.

The problem with this is that it really doesn’t get you anywhere. This strategy simply does not work. And even more perplexing yet, is when this tactic is used prolifically, over and over and over.

The best can that happen from this is, for a short time, a few other people may relate and find a common cause and those in this situation feel temporarily safe – but eventually it get’s old and those who choose this modus operandi eventually end up being seen as perpetual whingers, grumps and party poopers.

There is an alternative and a couple of ideas I’d like to share. Firstly, before ruling something out or criticizing it, look first for the positives – in people, ideas, options. Questions to get this started: If this works, how amazing could it be? What could go right? What are the benefits? What excitement could this create? Could this make life easier? What are the strengths? How is that person unique and what is special about them? These are just a few questions that can help people get those happy vibes going . Guru Edward de Bono (*I truly am not worthy*) calls this Yellow Hat Thinking and it is one of his 6 key tools for lateral (creative) thinking.

Another golden nugget is to CHOOSE to see things that happen, both positive and negative, as opportunities to learn. Don’t waste time or the precious chance for growth by looking to blame others, defending your part in it and only zooming in to problems that have happened. Instead, let’s talk about it constructively, looking for learnings and everyone accepting their part, so we can all gain advantage from such a situation. Problem solving and solution finding is great fun and, when done with a supportive team, puts learning into overdrive.

Lastly, dealing with the bitter and twisted feelings (or the B’n’Ts as I call it). The best remedy is, and always will be, gratitude. It soothes the soul, brings perspective and reminds of what’s important. Even on my worst of days, I can find things to be grateful for. For example – I’ve had a whopper of a week. I’ve worked an average of 15 hours per day this week. But you know what – it’s been absolutely wonderful. Yes I am tired, yes I have moments of being a little miffed about it, but I keep focussed on my goal and what is about to happen when the things I am working on drop into place. Nothing less that sheer awesomeness. Right now, I am grateful for my work colleagues who come in to check on me (several even singing to me and one even busting Beyonce dance moves “girls”). I’m grateful for my manager, who looks at me like I can do anything, which in turn affirms my thinking that I pretty much can. And I am grateful for technology and my savvy with it – it blows my mind when I think about how easy it is to do what I do because of the technology I love. See now I feel like a million bucks.

These sayings have stuck with me for years and have proved their worth over and over:

You’re either part of the solution or you forfeit your right to complain


If you don’t like something you can either: work to change it; decide to put up with it and accept it; or leave

One thing is clear – the choice, and the responsibility for that choice, is yours.

So why not give these little tips a go? I guarantee you will feel fantastic for it, will enjoy your work and the people around you more, you will achieve wonderful things, you will have the gift of learning and you will more than likely make some really good friends from this.

What’s there to lose?



2 responses

  1. really well written megan – the key point for me is that we choose our response – no one else does. to be able to do that is wonderful – by whinging and complaining we give our power to others rather than direct it ourselves. Love also the focus on providing gratitude – I am guilty as most in not doing this – you have reminded me to do more of this!

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