Positive Leadership

Positive Leadership at UM-Dearborn

Positive leadership, grounded in empirical research, is one of the best models to create high performance, support inclusion, and foster high satisfaction. Business Affairs is leading a multi-year strategic initiative to create a positive organization.

  • In 2013, we immersed our leadership team in learning the model and partnered with the UM Center for Positive Organizations to complete visioning for our unit.
  • UM Ross School of Business founders of positive leadership, Kim Cameron, Jane Dutton, and Gretchen Spreitzer, visited our campus to conduct in-depth training for our Business Affairs Leadership Team and Senior Officers of the university.
  • Created the Business Affairs Leadership Team (BALT), a group of supervisors, managers, and directors, to regularize information sharing and training across our departments.
  • In 2017, HR implemented performance reviews that simplified feedback and regular communications between staff and supervisors, all built around the positive organization model.
  • Training
    • Positive Business Conference at Ross School of Business
    • Week-long immersion training (18 campus leaders, including 7 in Business Affairs)
    • Business Affairs focus of excellent job descriptions, great hiring and promotion, impactful learning, and unique recognition programs
    • Tools being used include Gallup StrengthsFinder and Crucial Conversations (conducted by Facilities Operations)

Community of Practice (CoP)

Business Affairs is leading the launch of a Positive Leadership CoP for our campus community.

The CoP will meet on a regular basis to share best practices, communication models, and visions, while supporting excellence, innovation, and inclusion.  This sharing will increase performance across campus and support strategic planning.


Useful information related to positive leadership will continuously be added to this page.


How To Be A Positive Leader, Edited by Jane E. Dutton and Gretchen M. Spreitzer (ISBN: 378-1-62656-028-4)

Mindset, The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. (ISBN: 978-0-345-47232-8)

Positive Leadership, Strategies for Extraordinary Performance by Kim Cameron (ISBN: 978-1-60994-566-4)

Practicing Positive Leadership by Kim Cameron (ISBN: 978-1-60994-972-3)

The Thin Book of SOAR, Building Strengths-Based Strategy by Jacqueline M. Stavros and Gina Hinrichs (ISBN: 978-0-9822068-0-5)


Outside resource links and connections about positive leadership.

Inspiring Through the Positive Leadership Model

See what departments are implementing to inspire positive leadership.

Role & Soul

Human Resources is creating personalized expressions for their staff. As you enter their office space, you will catch a visual story about each individual. 

Acts of Kindness

Sugar cube: a way to recognize and appreciate others in simple, yet meaningful ways. It can be electronic or tangible.


We Knew Them When

The department of public safety hires and trains students and interns, developing them into leaders who continue on to their professional careers. Public Safety recognizes this transition and features their development on a "wall of fame" within the department.

What You Can Do Now

  • Clear expectations around high performance: job descriptions
  • Build a practice and habit around feedback around high performance
    • Create great goals
    • Refer to the "role negotiating" section in Positive Leadership by Kim Cameron
  • Succession planning is best supported by positive leadership environment
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