Be a glass half full leader

You can’t underestimate the power of positivity and the effect it can have on the people around you.

Richard Branson and Virgin StartUp on Virgin Atlantic flight to Detroit

I’m an incurable optimist. It helps me focus on the future when things might not be going my way and try and find a way around any problem.

If you’re leading a team, positivity from the top trickles down and can be a great motivator for your team. Positive people don’t just have a good day; they make it a good day. My tips for a positive outlook are: wear a smile at all times; look for the good in the world; be proactive in the face of problems; watch the language you use; and say yes rather than no – that is, after all, how I got my nickname Dr Yes!

Richard Branson and the Virgin Sport team in New York

If you lead people with this mindset you will have a happier, much more proactive and productive team to support you and each other. It’s also much easier to see the upsides if you follow your passion and love what you do. Let that enthusiasm for what you’re doing fuel your optimism.

But it can be tough to stay positive if you feel a bit stuck in life or business. Take a step back and do something that excites you, then try and take that feeling back to whatever you’re doing and question how you could be doing it better. 

Richard Branson and the Virgin Strive Challenge team 2016

I’m always questioning if Virgin is the best it can be and trying to think bigger. We launched three airlines because we believed there had to be a better way to do things. When marketing Virgin Atlantic we didn’t focus on the negatives of others, we tried to highlight the things we were doing differently to stand out. We also came up against many challenges launching the airline, but being positive helps you see possibilities even in the face of challenges and makes you much more likely to succeed.


Being grateful feeds a positive attitude. Enjoy what you have achieved and the journey you’re on. When I look back over the past four decades of Virgin, it’s not the profit or the awards that make me smile. It’s celebrating all the many special moments with staff along the way.

What helps you stay positive?


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