Optimism by Daniel Goleman


Anne, once head of Amex’s Optima Card division, was demoted in 1991 when 5 of her employees were revealed to have hidden USD 24 million in bad debt. Anne, though not responsible, was accountable, and so lost her position as GM of the division. Though devastated by the setback, she felt a basic confidence in her abilities and rallied to another challenge she was offered at a lower level, salvaging merchandising services, a failing division of Amex.

Optimists can more readily make a realistic assessment of a setback and admit how they contributed to it. Anne, e.g., re-examined her perfectionist, sometimes overly critical management style-even considering that it might have cowed her employees into hiding losses. She underwent executive coaching to soften her style, becoming more patient and a better listener. And under her direction, the failing merchandising division reached profitability within 2 years.

From- Working with EI


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