Learning to be a Positive Leader

What is positive leadership?  How do people change when they are trained in positive leadership?
One of our programs in positive leadership lasts one week.  A year later, the participants return for a week of follow-up.  In opening the second week, we do an in-depth exercise in which they review and share what they learned, what they tried, and what happened.  When they report out, they typically offer compelling accounts and the temptation is to focus on the most dramatic achievements.  Recently, as they shared, I avoided the temptation and instead recorded their key summary statements.  The next morning, I organized their statements into four rough categories:

  • Integrity and Authenticity: I clarified my personal purpose; I am so much more self-aware; I learned that we are who we are; I am more authentic; I have embraced vulnerability; I said I was going to try a new practice and someone asked if it was a new management trick I learned, I paused, then I said, Yes, I will try anything in order to have better relationship with and in this team.
  • Courage and Action: I feel more empowered; In my sphere of influence, I am taking more initiative, I am taking positive actions; In my conversations I am more courageous; For my people, I stood up to the boss no one dares to challenge and he responded by changing; I am doing more sharing over and I am doing more sharing up.
  • Positivity and Concern: I have gained a more positive focus; I am more focused on others; I am paying it forward; I have become an advocate for others; I have discovered that people want to be positive.
  • Learning and Development: I am into asking questions; I have changed how I respond to the statements of others by saying, ‘I wonder…,’ the practice has begun to spread. I am talking less, and listening more; I make it a point to demonstrate positive actions; I practice catching people doing good; I am more into killing the weeds by growing the grass.


  • From their summary statements, how would you describe or define positive leadership?
  • How is it different from conventional management?
  • Of all the above statements, which one has the most value for you?
  • How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?

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