Positive Leadership Toward Reinventing Organizations

Positive Leadership, based on positive psychology, makes a tremendous difference in any workplace no matter how hierarchical its structure may be, or how plain the tasks at hand.

Recently, some great books have been published about new organizations for the 21-st century, such as Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux and My Steam Engine is Broken by Mark Powell & Jonathan Gifford.

I’ll discuss them in a later blog post, but the point is reinventing organizations takes time and some people may be discouraged when they think of applying this to their workplace. Great idea - but it won’t work here. That’s where positive leadership comes in.

Just because you can't reinvent your organization overnight to turn into a self-organizing, vibrant, fulfilling and energizing workplace doesn't mean you are powerless! You can always apply positive leadership.

What Is Positive Leadership?

Here's something you can do right away to develop your workplace: apply positive leadership and kindness, whatever your role is. The simplicity of the positive leadership ideas always strikes me, yet the research evidence is so compelling. This really makes a difference.

Positive leadership departs from an abundance mindset. It has faith that there will be enough for everyone. It aims to enlarge the pie instead of dividing its parts where you will create winners and losers. Co-creating a bigger pie will make everyone a winner.

Instead of aiming for the default baseline - there are no problems - positive leadership is looking to realize positive deviance. We are performing beyond expectations and we are living up to our greatest potential as an organization. We are the best version of ourselves that we can be.

It builds on what is already working well. It appreciates people for their unique contributions. It means trusting people so that they will surprise you in a positive way with their projects. It means acknowledging small but good things and actions.


What if you role model kindness? You know that everyone tries their best, and everyone can make a mistake every now and then. You show compassion. You don’t take things too personally. You don’t make things weigh more than they do. You see disappointments as information. You’re open to welcome all kinds of information, but you handle anything with a positive-leadership mindset. That means it’s safe to share anything.

You are there for your coworkers and teams. You give genuine attention. You compliment people and you mean it. It costs nothing. All it takes is you - the best version of you. You can start today - no matter how busy you are or how challenging it may be to see something good in your workplace.

What if Kindness Is Not Easy?

Several people objected to this idea. It is not easy to be kind in our organization. That’s right. It's not always easy in an environment that does not do kindness. Yet, we can uplift the others and choose positive leadership and kindness anyway. But it takes courage. You may be labeled as weak, idealistic or you may be mocked. How kindness is perceived, depends on the culture and the leadership team. But then again, it starts with one person displaying “normal” human kindness.

If you need more inspiration, you can download the Positive Leadership and Change Collection #1. It contains 10 articles, one of them an interview with professor Kim Cameron about Positive Leadership, who said:

"It is the duty of a leader to help create an organization where it is easy to be kind and supportive."

It’s normally the price of a coffee, but it will be free until May 23rd. Grab your copy today and spread more positive leadership: Download collection #1.

The Kindle collections on Positive Leadership, Culture and Change are also readable for non-Kindle-owners. Simply download a free Kindle reading app for any device.

All it takes to develop the workplace and the world is you.

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