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Episode 062 – The Power of Positive Leadership Author Jon Gordon

Posted on Nov 2, 2017 by in Podcast Episode | 0 comments


Jon packs a lot into a short episode, from optimism and vision to grit and a growth mindset.



Hey everyone and welcome to the All-Star Leader Podcast, where together we learn about leadership from the best and brightest, and keep it fun by connecting it to our passion for sports!

I’m your host Daniel Hare, and today we welcome to the show leadership expert Jon Gordon.

Jon is a speaker, trainer, and best-selling author who has worked with professional sports coaches and teams all over the country.

His latest book is titled The Power of Positive Leadership: How and why positive leaders transform teams and Organizations around the world.

This is Jon Gordon. Jon thanks so much for being with us!

Interview Questions:

  1. First off tell us a bit about your background and how you became the leadership expert you are today.
    1. Wrote a book called The Energy Bus 10 years ago; about using positivity and removing negativity
    2. Led to speaking engagements and opportunities to hear from teams and organizations what they were going through
    3. This led to other books and a focus on leadership
    4. Considers himself a teacher second and a student first
  2. Define positive leadership for us, and maybe distinguish from other types of leadership.
    1. Shouldn’t have to use a qualifier
    2. You need to be positive and optimistic to effectively lead; need to have a vision for the road ahead
    3. This is not Pollyanna leadership; this type of leadership builds great teams; bring out the best in people encouraging and challenging them
    4. This is the best way to lead and the way to get results. You’re demanding but not demeaning; provide love and accountability
    5. You don’t have to choose positive without caring for results; positivity will drive results
  3. I’m sure some of us listening might be thinking, “sure it’s easy to be positive when things are going well, but what about when times are hard? Isn’t direct/honest criticism or tough love sometimes warranted?”
    1. Like the lawn company which charged him for a bunch of trees that they never installed; Jon challenged them and they tried to settle for half the amount instead of the full refund, and then accused Jon of not being positive when he wouldn’t settle
    2. When you challenge someone they might not think you’re being positive, but that’s not the standard
    3. Love others first; once they feel that love, people will follow
    4. Dabo Swinney is a great example of this; he challenges his players but his players believe he loves them; they have a relationship; this allows him to push them and have hard conversations with them
    5. Allen Mulally said same thing: love them up, but hold them accountable to the culture and principles
  4. In chapter five of your book you talk about the importance of optimism. Can you share a bit about that, and how, if at all, we balance that with a realistic picture of our circumstances?
    1. Confront the challenges knowing the adversity you’re facing
    2. Loss – learning opportunity stay strong
    3. See events in your live as learning opportunities
    4. Pessimists do not change the world; naysayers talk about problems but don’t solve them; critics write words but don’t write the future. It’s the optimists/dreamers/doers that create the future
  5. And later in the same chapter you make what I think is a very key observation: when there is a lack of communication, negativity fills the void. Expand on that for us.
    1. When not communicating with your team, negativity fills the he void with gossip, complaining
    2. Instead fill the void with positive communication (honest, transparent)
    3. Uncertainty and fear is what really impacts people
    4. As a leader, you need to drive faith, certainty, comfort, love
    5. Example – superintendent talked budget cuts at a meeting that was going to involve staff reductions, and the crowd of people who could lose their jobs gave him a standing ovation. They trusted him and knew he was being transparent with them. Helped prevent negativity from seeping in.
  6. Having a purpose is something that all leaders need in order to inspire others. You suggest a technique called One Word to assist with this. Tell us about that.
    1. One word will change your life. Pick a word for the year that drives you, gives you purpose, inspires you
    2. Amazing how the word shapes you and helps you live with more purpose
  7. Studies are now saying that grit is the best predictor of success. How have you seen that play out work the teams you’ve worked with?
    1. Not talent, not title, not wealth, not looks. Grit is the number one factor. Angela Duckworth wrote a book and gave a Ted Talk about this.
    2. Positive leaders have grit; they will move forward through adversity and obstacles and will not let things stop them.
    3. Essential for leadership/success
    4. Dabo, Allen Mulally, Sara Blakely from Spanx…all display grit
    5. Can’t allow nos to hold you back; you have to move forward
    6. The Energy Bus (Jon’s first book) was rejected over 30 times; finally the book got made/carried; five years’ later it was a best seller
  8. How, if at all, can we increase our grittiness? You’ve talked about embracing failure and I would love to hear how we do that and what its impact can be.
    1. We all have grit
    2. It’s about recognizing it in yourself
    3. It’s like growth mindset – we’re all born with it. Our circumstances change these for the negative if we let them.
    4. When Superman took off his outfit, he’s not Clark Kent, he’s always Superman because it is inside him
    5. Loving what you’re doing is a big help in bringing out our grit
  9. Could you share a word with those in our audience who might just feel stuck. If they wanted to start becoming that positive leader today, what are one or two practical steps you would encourage them to take?
    1. Pull out your telescope and your microscope
    2. Telescope – big picture of what you want to do and where you want to go; vision; what’s your why?
    3. Microscope – Something tangible/practical that you can do to bring the telescope image into focus. What moves you along the journey. Without this you’re dreaming without creating.
    4. The two together are key.
    5. Gary Vaynerchuck’s Clouds and Dirt
  10. Jon thank you so much for joining us today. Where can people go to connect with you and learn more about what you have going on?
    2. @jongordon11 on Twitter
    3. Book: The Power of Positive Leadership

Thank Yous/Acknowledgements:

  1. Antioch Live/Clear Day Media Group – music
    1. More here.
  2. Jonathan Davis – production
  3. Clint Musslewhite – voice over


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