Awareness of Actual Circumstances Versus Impervious Optimism

Why is an awareness of actual circumstances so hard – and what makes it so important – for leaders to see the world as it really is? Let’s look as some examples of leaders who have addressed this question.

When we think of all the responsibility, setbacks, and other difficulties that a leader must face in today’s work environment, the need for an underlying optimism is hardly surprising. But that optimism, something that is widely viewed as a valuable personality trait, can be an Achilles’ heel for leaders.

Optimism is a much more complicated concept than we often realize. Consider the following illustration involving a former employee of mine.

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About the Author

Justin Menkes is an acclaimed author and leading expert in executive assessment. A consultant for the influential executive search firm Spencer Stuart, he and his colleagues advise the boards of the world’s leading companies on their choice of CEO. He authored The Wall Street Journal bestseller Executive Intelligence: What All Great Leaders Have and has written articles for Chief Executive and the Harvard Business Review. To read Justin Menkes’ complete biography, click here.