Positive psychologists have shown that some people tend to frame the world optimistically, others pessimistically. Optimists often have an edge: in our survey, three-quarters of the respondents who were particularly good at positive framing thought they had the right skills to lead change, while only 15 percent of those who weren’t thought so.
For leaders who don’t naturally see opportunity in change and uncertainty, those conditions create stress. When faced with too much stress (each of us has a different limit), the brain reacts with a modern version of the “fight, flight, or freeze” instinct that saber-toothed tigers inspired in early humans. This response equips us only for survival, not for coming up with creative solutions. Worse yet, in organizations such behavior feeds on itself, breeding fear and negativity that can spread and become the cultural norm.
-From ‘How centered leaders achieve extraordinary results’ Article McKinsey Quarterly, October 2010 By Joanna Barsh, Josephine Mogelof and Caroline Webb