Leadership masters display four important qualities: optimism, cheerfulness, creativity, and the ability to overcome setbacks. Being optimistic is more important than being correct. Even though pessimists may sometimes be correct in thinking endeavors will end badly, their outlooks prevent them from taking action. Optimism is not an innate state of mind but an outlook that can be cultivated and practiced. Psychologist Martin Seligman calls this learned optimism.Optimism breeds cheerfulness. People tend to view the melancholy person as smarter than the cheerful person, perhaps assuming that the somber personality knows something that others do not. This assumption, however, is culturally specific. In China, for example, cheerfulness is considered a positive sign that an individual has survived hardships and bounced back.
Creativity is the ability to make something of value out of nothing at all. There are different types of creativity. Turning an attacker’s insulting anger into a friendship is one kind of creativity. The ability to turn a dream into reality is another. Finally, masterful leaders know how to overcome setbacks. They remain upbeat and optimistic in the face of adversity.