A friend of mine—one of the most effective leaders I know—has produced remarkable results that span several decades at two very large organizations, and is now taking on a third one. He's the kind of guy that you naturally want to be with.

He shared with me one of the keys to his success. When he takes the reins of leadership somewhere, the first thing he will do is get rid of the people who are negative. "I can't afford the energy that will get siphoned off by whiners and victims and blamers and drainers," he told me. So the first step he takes in building a team is creating a family of positive, visionary, excited, and basically happy people.

Another friend of mine, who has worked both inside and outside the church, says that this is easier to do when you work at a corporation than it is when you work at a church.

But it did spark my thinking: what makes some people energy-bringers and others energy-drainers?

Obstacles or opportunities?

Carol Dweck is a world-renowned Stanford psychologist and author of Mindset, a book about a fundamental difference in human thinking. She found that raw talent and aptitude have relatively little to do with how far children will journey in life when they become adults.

Through a series of studies, she was surprised to find a certain subset of children who not only are able to tolerate failure—not even able simply to cope with it—but actually relish it. On one occasion she gave children a series of nearly impossible puzzles. Many were frustrated. Some gave up. Some labored grimly. But a few had a completely different response.

One 10-year-old boy, who was confronted with one of the nearly impossible puzzles, actually looked up with a smile on his face and said, "You know, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview
To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.
Already a Leadership Journal subscriber?
or for full digital access.
Read These Next
See Our Latest