Enthusiasm is a genuine excitement for what your company does. It looks like a team who believes in your service or product, and who embraces what your company stands for. Passion is contagious. If you as a leader are not excited and motivated by your work and role, then you cannot expect those you lead to be.  


Is an “indicator of one’s positive attitude and outlook on life. It involves remaining hopeful and resilient despite occasional setbacks” (MHS, 2011). As an EQ skill, optimism involves believing the best of yourself, the situations you face and the people you interact with. Seligman and Maier (1967) explain pessimism through the concept of Learned Helplessness. This is a view of the world that believes that when bad things happen, they are permanent, pervasive and personal, and when good things occur, they are temporary, contained and the result of other people or outside circumstances. Optimism is precisely the opposite. In the context of your team it involves viewing setbacks as temporary, contained and the result of external sources, and considering positive events or output as permanent, pervasive and the result of personal effort or input. 


Is the “willingness to persistently try to improve oneself and engage in the pursuit of personally relevant and meaningful objectives that lead to a rich and enjoyable life” (MHS, 2011). Self-actualisation is the highest level in Maslow’s (1954) model of human motivation. According to this hierarchy of needs, self-actualisation represents the highest-order motivations, which drive us to realise our true potential and achieve our ‘ideal self’ (Maslow, 1954). Only once your team members’ lower, more primary needs are met, are they likely to start unlocking their full potential. Lower needs include Physiological, Safety, Love and Esteem. As a leader, you can play a key role in meeting these lower needs, especially your team’s need for Esteem. This could look like encouraging them, respecting their ideas, and articulating their value. 

Stress Tolerance

Involves “coping with stressful or difficult situations and believing that one can manage or influence situations in a positive manner” (MHS, 2011). Not all stress is bad and when there is the right amount of it, stress can be really good and healthy. Selye (1974) referred to this as ‘eustress’ – stress that is good, stress that motivates, stimulates, builds and grows us to our full potential. Optimum stress is really good (Nelson & Simmons, 2003) On the other hand however, too much stress leads to decreased performance, fatigue, exhaustion, negative emotion and eventually burnout. Selye (1974) referred to this as ‘distress’ – stress that is bad, stress that demotivates, depletes and detracts from our potential and performance (Nelson & Simmons, 2003). A motivated team is one that is equipped with healthy stress management, knows their boundaries and is able to stay within the bounds of ‘eustress’.