Activate #5 Session Two
"The negativity bias refers to the notion that, even when of
equal intensity, things of a more negative nature (e.g. unpleasant
thoughts, emotions, or social interactions) have a greater effect
on one's psychological state and processes than neutral or positive
things," - Wikipedia.
It certainly rings true that it's so often a feature of human
nature to look for the negative in everything first.
Neurologically, the brain is wired to assess threats and we have a
tendency to immediately jump into problem solving mode. Dr Paige
Williams noted that when we approach life (and leadership) looking
for a problem to be solved we risk being stuck in this problem
solving paradigm unless we take a strength based
The example of judging a fish by its ability to climb a tree
triggered contemplation of the manner in which we identify the
strengths (abilities, talent, aptitude, skills) in ourselves and
others, and the benefit of harnessing these to achieve a higher
level of performance. Importantly, identifying strengths is about
asking the question 'what is right with you?' And,
more importantly, not to dwell on what is wrong.
A number of the 'strength based' elements of Dr Williams'
presentation also shone through when Phil Clohesy, General Manager
of Royal Geelong Yacht Club, provided his own leadership pearls of
wisdom. A quote was referenced, 'No-1 is smarter than all of us',
and recommendations provided about surrounding yourself with people
who are willing to learn and who have great values and attitudes.
Giving these thoughts greater consideration suggests that awareness
of self and others is critical, but that the benefits from a
leadership perspective are maximised if the strengths in the
collective are recognised and utilised.
Reflecting on week two of the Activate program provided a number
of snippets of leadership advice from the speakers that resonated
strongly. It also gave a greater appreciation of the diverse
backgrounds the participants in the program come from and the
leadership situations we experience. But what was also evident, is
that regardless of our day to day roles and responsibilities,
leaders who exercise a strength based approach and view problems
through a lens of opportunity will encourage those around them to
live up to their full potential.