Skip to main content

Positive leaders understand how to bring out the best in people and organizations; to uncover potential and bring it to life.  The goal of positive leadership is to create workplaces that foster high satisfaction and productivity.

Positive leadership is grounded in the principles of Positive Psychology.  This is not “happy-ology,” what you might think of as the power of positive thinking, a self-help movement, or a passing fad.  It is the fastest growing area of psychology.

For the first 100 years, the field focused on psychological problems and how to remedy them but had little to say about how to foster excellence.  Positive Psychology corrects this imbalance by studying positive emotions, strengths-based character, ethical behavior, energizing relationships, and healthy organizations.  Scientific studies examine how people flourish.

How can you practice positive leadership?

Be Authentic

The most effective leaders understand both their strengths and their vulnerabilities.  They exude an accurate sense of self that bolsters credibility and builds authenticity. This means acting in accord with your true self — behaving and expressing what you really think and believe.

The authentic leader is confident, hopeful, optimistic, resilient, transparent, ethical, and gives priority to developing others to become positive leaders as well.  Allow your true values, beliefs, and behaviors to serve as a model for their development.

Focus on Strengths

Developing positive leadership requires an accurate assessment of your personal strengths.  Then get some training on how to better develop and utilize those strengths.  I like to use the StrengthsFinder 2.0 in my leadership development programs and coaching practice.  I have seen it raise awareness, grow confidence, and reassure leaders that they don’t have to be great at everything; just to be who they are. The StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment is based on more than 40 years of research.  It measures the presence of your natural talents – out of 34 possible themes – and provides ideas for action.  In order to identify your strengths, take the Clifton StrengthsFinder 2.0 on-line assessment for only $10 or purchase the book (with access code to assessment) for $15.

Once you’ve identified your own strengths, consider providing the assessment for your whole team.  You don’t have to exhibit every strength, but your team does!  You need to know what you bring to the table and how your strengths contribute to your work team. Your team members should be in the right roles that fit their own strengths.  You should know where the gaps are on the team so you can hire properly in the future.  I recently developed a 3-month team building program that helps leaders capitalize on each team member’s individual strengths, negotiate roles, and maximize engagement.

Stay Positive

Facilitate positive communication by replacing negative and critical language with affirmative and supportive language.  The “Losada Line” suggests a ratio of at least 3:1 positive to negative comments.  Encourage positive relationships in the organization – relationships that help people contribute to the benefit of others are the most valuable.  In fact, recent research suggests that the quality of relationships at work can determine your life span!  Encourage a positive climate where positive emotions predominate over negative ones.

Applying these 3 important enablers of positive leadership leads to extraordinary productivity and increased engagement.  Empirical evidence is persuasive that these 3 strategies can result in substantial improvement in individual and organizational performance.


I would like to introduce you to some brand-new strategies for positive leadership — strategies that are not familiar to most leaders today. Positive organizations can be created. Google is not on top of the list of best places to work by accident.

There are certain companies, certain teams, and certain leaders that have engagement numbers double and triple the national average. With the training that I share in this coaching intensive, you can too!

If you would like further training on positive leadership,

check out this coaching intensive: 4 Pillars of Positive Leadership 

This groundbreaking training is for business leaders, managers, and human resource professionals who want to increase engagement, productivity, and profits.  I share simple but powerful tools from the cutting-edge field of Positive Psychology that you can start applying today.

In this coaching intensive, you will learn how to:

  • avoid the 5 mistakes that most managers make that destroy their team’s engagement
  • energize, inspire, and motivate your team effectively
  • develop a highly engaged team that goes above and beyond expectations
  • set the bar high without micromanaging or draining your team’s energy
  • establish credibility as a respected and promotable people leader

Resource:  Cameron, K. (2008).  Positive Leadership.  San Francisco:  Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Dr. Stefani Yorges

I am a psychologist and professional leadership coach. I partner with people who want to rise to their full potential so they can have an increasingly greater impact on others.

Leave a Reply

Sign up now to get inspiration in your inbox!