Pollyanna Leadership?

“Positive leadership isn’t just about being optimistic, it’s about acknowledging challenges while emphasizing resilience and a can-do attitude. It empowers individuals and inspires teams to take risks, embrace change, learn from mistakes and work together to overcome obstacles. Unlike authoritarian leadership, positive leadership creates a more fulfilling and satisfying work environment while driving success.”- Dr. Kevin Lynn McLaughlin, PhD

Let’s talk about positive leadership and how it doesn’t mean that leaders ignore mistakes and not hold team members responsible. Positive leadership, which creates a supportive and constructive work environment where team members feel valued and respected, is better in the long-term for team morale and retention than authoritarian or command and control leadership. This is because positive leadership fosters trust and transparency, which leads to improved communication and collaboration, increased job satisfaction, and a lower likelihood of turnover.  Authoritarian leadership focuses on control and punishment, which can lead to a negative and demotivating work environment. 

Positive leadership is a critical component of building a strong and successful team, but it is important to understand what it is and what it is not. Positive leadership does not mean that you never hold team members accountable or that you are always behaving in a Pollyanna manner. On the contrary, positive leadership means creating a supportive and constructive work environment where team members are encouraged to learn, grow, and succeed. This includes holding team members accountable, when necessary, but doing so in a way that is respectful, supportive, and focused on growth and improvement. Cybersecurity leadership is about creating a culture of trust and transparency, where everyone feels valued and respected. When your cybersecurity team members trust their leaders and feel valued, they are more likely to be open and honest about their challenges and mistakes, which creates opportunities for growth and improvement. This does not mean ignoring coaching for improvement and learning opportunities nor does it mean you allow them to cover up mistakes. On the contrary, positive leaders must address concerns and mistakes, learn from them, and drive on to be better. This requires leaders to be honest, transparent, and constructive in their approach. Positive leadership is about creating a supportive and constructive work environment that fosters trust, transparency, and growth.Positive leadership is not about ignoring accountability or behaving in a Pollyanna manner, but rather it is about approaching challenges and mistakes with a positive and constructive mindset.  One extremely important concept in all of this is to follow the tenet of praising in public and coaching/mentoring in private.  Public shame and embarrassment seldom lead to high team morale and high team retention rates.

About mclaukl

Professional Certifications - Certified CISO, CISM, CISSP, PMP, ITIL Master Certified, GIAC Security Leadership Certificate (GSLC), CRISC. Kevin also holds Certificates in the Advanced Principles of Information Security and in Advanced Information Security Research Methods from Jones International University. Kevin L. McLaughlin began his career as a Special Agent for the Department of Army. He was responsible for investigating Felony crimes around the globe. He has had many careers over the years, including being a Police Officer in Kissimmee Florida, an Investigator for Mastercard/Visa, a Middle School teacher, a Director at Kennedy Space Center (where he worked with Fred Hayes, James Lovell, Armstrong, Sheppard, etc.), the President of his own company, an IT Manager and Senior Information Security manager with the Procter & Gamble (P&G) company (fortune 35), a CISO at the University of Cincinnati and a Senior Information System Security Manager for the Whirlpool Corporation (fortune 125). Kevin has also been an adjunct since 1992. While at P&G Kevin created one of P&G’s augmentation outsourcing teams in India. Kevin designed and implemented this India team and it won a global Gold Service award from Atos-Origin and has acted as a model for countless corporate relationships since. Over the years Kevin has: created an Information Security program conducted Information Security Strategic planning designed Information Security solutions, investigated over 700 Cyber cases and operated a Global Security Operations Center. • Education - MS in Computer Science Education, BS in Management of Information Systems * PhD in Cyber Security, University of Fairfax
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