leadership | February 18, 2013

Perpetual Optimism: Rick Hillier On Powerful Leadership Tools [VIDEO]

Investing in people and motivating your team is a vital component of success. What, then, does world renowned leadership speaker Rick Hillier say is the best way to accomplish this? As he explains in a new interview, practicing "perpetual optimism"—both at work and in your daily life—gets the job done the most effectively. It's one thing to get people to show up for work physically, he says. It's a whole other story, however, to get their minds and their bodies to show up and get excited about doing their job. That's where Hillier says having an optimistic attitude comes in to play. "They want to feel inspired and feel that they're contributing to something greater than just a normal day-to-day grind," the retired General explains. "Passion moves people and optimism will manifest as that passion."

Hillier spent over three decades of his life leading troops all over the world in various high-stakes war efforts. While he has been praised as a remarkable leader, he says that he never believed he was too important to take a leave when he needed it. First of all, he says an effective leader has trained their team well enough—and has enough trust in them—to be able to function independently if the situation arises. "It is all about people, and it is all about how you handle people and inspire them by trusting them," he says. "And I think the greatest trust you can put in them is to leave them to do what they know how to do, within the parameters you have developed together, when you aren't there."  Not only that, but he says that it is crucial to take the time you need to recharge your batteries and get a fresh perspective. That way, you can come back to work with new insight and a renewed vigor about the work you are doing—something that is hard to do if you are physically and psychologically exhausted.

Hillier shares his effective leadership strategies in his book, Leadership: 50 Points of Wisdom for Today's Leaders and his highly sought after keynote speeches. Drawing on his experiences in the armed forces, he applies the lessons he has learned to any industry. Leadership is about people, he says, and when you know how to inspire and motivate them—there's no limit to what you and your team can achieve.

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