Dr Jason Cressey was the speaker for the "Respected Leader" session at the Vancouver Regional Construction Association's Construction Leadership Forum. Cressey began by saying that if people are more self-conscious, they can then tweak and make improvements.
Leadership has little to do with rank or authority, Cressey said. Someone starting on the bottom rung of an organization could be showing more leadership than those at the top.
Respect, he said, is earned. It can't be demanded, and it's freely given to those who deserve it. While "knowledge is power," respect is earned from the way you show up and conduct yourself in life.
It's also, Cressey said, a two-way street. Without a sense of boundaries, you don't have respect for others and you'll have little respect for yourself. And respect begins with oneself, he added, as you can't respect others without healthy self-respect to begin with.
Positive psychology works because it focuses on the positives of individuals, rather than leaning in on the negatives.
Respectful leadership, Cressey said, is applying positive psychology to your team. Leadership that is respectful to yourself and others requires cultivating positive feelings and thoughts about the past (gratitude), present (mindfulness) and the future (optimism.)
Positive leadership, he said is about applying these principles to yourself and other people. Negativity is contagious, but so is positivity, Cressey said.
In yourself, he said, consider the importance of acceptance. "What you resist, persists," Cressey added. In others, feedback is important.
We thrive when we receive three positive to one negative piece of feedback, he said, but stressed that this is a process that has to occur over time.
Optimism is the ability to see the positive potential in all situations, and recognize that desirable outcomes can emerge from undesirable situations. When related to leadership, it's one of the key things needed from a team to achieve results.
But one must acknowledge that in the workplace times are tough, and so it's about matching the situation at hand and setting the tone.
Three keys to optimism are to recognize aspects of a worksite that are difficult, thus preventing people "filling in the blanks" through lack of information. Be visible, because if people can approach you then you will be perceived as a stable force. The third thing to do is Be positive. Resist the temptation to put a positive spin on everything, but seek out genuine good news.
Resiliency consists of short-term management, anticipation and adaptation, and altruism. Humor is also important.
To become more resilient, it's important to deal with the self-sabotaging voice that kills positivity. The self-sabotaging voice can take many forms, such as "all or nothing," seeing things in black or white. There's also over-generalization, ie) something happened one way in the past so it will always happen that way in the future. Disqualifying the positive be rejecting positive experiences as "not mattering" is another self-sabotaging behavior. Jumping to conclusions and making negative interpretations without facts to support your conclusion is also harmful, as is magnification or "catastrophizing." Emotional reasoning, or assuming your negative emotions reflect reality, are another way in which you can self-sabotage.
Personalisation, or blaming yourself for reactions in others that may be innocuous, as well as discounting others praise all help to sabotage you.
But what can be done with self-sabotaging thoughts? Ask yourself is this thought really true (ie. Would it hold up in court)? Where's the evidence? What would a friend say if they heard this thought in my head? Most importantly, how can I choose to think and feel instead?
We tend to thik that adversity leads to consequence, but A does not lead to C. A leads to B (in the alphabet), and in this case B stands for Belief, or how you interpret this adversity.
Remembering to dispute emotions is the key as it takes away the severity of that emotion.