Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Power of Positive Leadership (2017) by Jon Gordon, Book Review

The Power of Positive Leadership
: How and Why Positive Leaders Transform Teams and Organizations and Change the World (2017) by Jon Gordon

Jon Gordon is famous for his bestseller, The Energy Bus, his first book about a man whose life and career are in trouble until he learns great lessons from a unique bus driver and colorful passengers how to overcome adversity and be positive in his outlooks, leadership, relationship, and teamwork. The Energy Bus’s main character is based on Jon’s own life, and if you already read that book, you’ll appreciate this one because The Power of Positive Leadership is a book about how to turn from a negative zombie to a positive leader. As a leader, we will surely face obstacles, failures, and test daily and there are times when it seems as if everything in the world is turning against us. But take heart, we don’t have to be bitter and become losers. We can choose to be positive. “We are not positive because life is easy,” writes Jon Gordon, “We are positive because life can be hard.”

I love this one: “Positive leadership is not about fake positivity. It is the real stuff that makes great leaders great. Pessimists don’t change the world. Critics write words but they don’t write the future. Naysayers talk about problems but they don’t solve them. Throughout history, we see that it’s the optimists, the believers, the dreamers, the doers, and the positive leaders who change the world.” So true! I read lots of leadership books and dozens of biographies of the great (and worst) leaders and I never read about negative leaders who make the world a better place. There is no need for me to share what the research says about how positivity affects leadership, relationships, business, workplace, teamwork, emotional health, and productivity. The question is not WHY positive leadership is important, but HOW to be a positive leader. And so, with compelling stories (there are many good stories here), practical ideas and practices, Jon Gordon shares 9 Frameworks on how we can utilize and implement his positive leadership principles into action:

#1 Positive Leaders Drive Positive Cultures. “Culture is not just one thing. It’s everything” (Jon Gordon)

#2 Positive Leaders Create and Share a Positive Vision. “It is important to have a compelling vision and a comprehensive plan. Positive leadership – conveying the idea that there is always a way forward – is so important because that is what you are here for – to figure out how to move the organization forward” (Alan Mulally)

#3 Positive Leaders Lead with Optimism, Positivity and Belief. “The most important characteristic of a leader is optimism” (Bob Iger)

#4 Positive Leaders Confront, Transform and Remove Negativity. “Being positive won’t guarantee you’ll succeed but being negative will guarantee you won’t” (Jon Gordon)

#5 Positive Leaders Create United and Connected Teams. “It’s the leader’s ability to unite and connect people that truly creates great teams and organizations” (Jon Gordon)

#6 Positive Leaders Built Great Relationships and Teams. “Leadership comes down to taking care of the people in your organization and making them the best they can be, not giving up on them and never failing to be there for them” (Pete Carroll)

#7 Positive Leaders Pursue Excellence.People think you have to choose between positivity and winning. You don’t have to choose. Positivity leads to winning” (Jon Gordon)

#8 Positive Leaders Lead with Purpose.We don’t get burned out because of what we do. We get burned out because we forget why we do it” (Jon Gordon). This is my favorite quote!

#9 Positive Leaders Have Grit. “The number one predictor and factor of success is not talent, title, wealth or appearance. It is grit!” (Jon Gordon)

When I first read the title of this book, I think of Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking. While positive thinking will help me in my personal life, positive leadership will not only impact my own but also others’ lives such as my family, friends, Bible Study group, team and organization. As Jon Gordon ends this book, he writes, “When you become a positive leader, you will not only make yourself better, but you will also make everyone around you better – and that’s a great place to start!” I fully recommend this book not only to professionals and business leaders but to anyone who wants to be 1% more better every day. I also recommend that you subscribe to Jon Gordon’s Positive University Podcast too.  


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