Appreciative Leadership: The Positive Principle

While we are gearing up for the festive holiday season, take time to reflect on all that we appreciate on a professional level.

As a leader, I am thankful for the opportunity to positively influence change by using Appreciative Inquiry Principles. This focus helps facilitate positive change in the world that surrounds us all.

The Center for Appreciative Inquiry highlights that every human system has something that works right…things that give it life when it is vital, effective and successful. This begins by identifying this positive core and connecting to it in ways the heighten energy, sharpen vision and inspire action for change.

The Positive Principle(1) taps into how to gain momentum for change requires large amounts of positive affect and social bonding. This momentum is best generated through positive questions that amplify the positive core by focusing on previous success, including:
Achievements the team and individuals are most proud of accomplishing during a previous change or new initiative.
Identify best practices that helped accomplish the goal and overall success. What worked well and how can the team support others to do more of “that” during a planned or unexpected change.
Discuss the best experiences that were realized—for the team, individuals and those you serve.
Build upon positive success in order to replicate this for new initiatives and change.
The result will help generate the positive affect needed for best performance, persistence, learning, and resilience to setbacks.


Leadership Considerations: Positive Emotions
Research suggests(2) that people who regularly feel positive emotions are lifted on an “upward spiral” of continued growth and thriving. Positive emotions transform individuals and groups of people. Community and organization transformation becomes possible because each person’s positive emotion can resound through others.

Cultivate positive emotions indirectly by finding positive meaning within current circumstances. Positive meaning can be obtained by finding benefits within adversity, by infusing ordinary events with meaning and by effective problem-solving.

Focus on the new-found strengths and resolve within yourself and your team. Infuse ordinary events with meaning by expressing appreciation, love and gratitude, even for simple things.

Find positive meaning through problem-solving by supporting compassionate acts toward people in need and those in your care.

As the landscape of healthcare continues to change, the greater the need to learn new ways of learning and leading. Consider how to foster The Positive Inquiry Principle as you redesign, collaborate and innovate for the ongoing success of your team and organization. I know you will bring out the best in your team and yourself!


The Center for Appreciative Inquiry


(2) The Value of Positive Emotions,” by Barbara L. Fredrickson

Pathway Health provides the insight, expertise and knowledge to keep your organization on the right path.

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Lisa Thomson
Chief Strategy and Marketing Office