Leadership: The Power of Positive


My second blog is on leadership and discusses a simple concept, one that will test you each day: The power of being a positive person–a positive force in your school. Administrators who daily utilize a positive approach can effect and even transform a school’s culture.

So, now for the look-in-the-mirror-moment. Ask yourself, Am I a positive person? Then, reflect on both statements: Positive people always attract positive people. People who are negative tend to attract negative people. Some people believe they are positive and feel perplexed when they attract negative people. But everyone has the power to change their outlook to positive as long as each person sees the need and has the will.

After many years in education, I can honestly say that I have known many negative people, including school and district leaders. However, I have also known leaders who continually maintain a positive outlook because they understand that being positive is a key ingredient for success. When school leaders combine positivity with a passion for their work, it’s possible for them to achieve greatness. Both positivity and negativity affect people’s interactions and their view of life and the world. Moreover, I have never known a negative leader who has achieved success over time, but I have observed positive leaders do this again and again.

My challenge to you is to be a positive force. By embracing a positive outlook, you will be a more effective leader and impact teachers, staff, students, and families. In addition, your leadership style holds the potential of creating an upbeat outlook among teachers who in turn develop a positive class environment for students. To support your efforts, I’ve identified four simple rules for you to consider:

  1. Make the choice to be a positive force.
  2. Be upbeat and optimistic and look for what works as well as focusing on what others do well.
  3. Bring a positive outlook to negative people by modeling the benefits.
  4. Practice being positive every day.

Embracing a positive leadership style may be the best advice I can give you because you will create meaningful change by building on what’s working. Remember the opening of Johnny Mercer’s popular song, “You’ve got to accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative. Latch on to the affirmative. Don’t mess with Mister In-between.” This song has been recorded by artists such as Bing Crosby, Paul McCartney, Connie Francis, and Aretha Franklin for good reasons–it celebrates the power to affect positive change by having an upbeat outlook.

I believe that effective leaders are positive. If you inherit a negative school culture, being positive can raise feelings of loneliness. However, by recognizing the reasons for these feelings, you can make the choice to be positive during each day. To maintain a positive school culture, notice and give voice to the excellence you observe as you complete walkthroughs, spend time in the cafeteria and classes, walk your school’s halls, meet with staff and parents, attend school and district meetings, and watch sports and arts events. Keep in mind that change will come because like the common cold, being positive is catching!


My book The Principal’s Leadership Sourcebook is available on Amazon.