Building Positive Leadership and Organizations

Lever Learning in cooperation with New Mind Executives introduces new and highly practical tools that enable organizations and leaders to cultivate a culture of Positivity and strengths’ based management. Those tools have been developed by the University of Michigan, Ross School of Business. Our aim is to inspire and facilitate leaders to build high-performing organizations that bring out the best in people.

Positive Organizations: What they are

A positive organization is a place where people are flourishing as they work and as a result they are able to exceed performance expectations,” Prof. Robert Quinn.

A positive organization is filled with people who are empowered, fulfilled and engaged at work. People who embrace and live the positive mental map:

• Embrace the common good
• Feel confident
• Seek growth
• Overcome constraints
• Expand their roles
• Express their authentic voice
• See and seize new opportunities
• Build social networks
• Nurture high-quality connections
• Embrace feedback
• Exceed expectations
• Learn and flourish

Positive Leadership: The meaning

A positive leader creates an esprit de corps with his troops. Positive leaders deliberately increase the flow of positive emotions within their organization. They choose to do this not just because it is a “nice” thing to do for the sake of improving morale, but because it leads to a measurable increase in performance. Studies show that organizational leaders who share positive emotions have workgroups with:

  • a more positive mood                             ——————–> Better Results

  • enhanced job satisfaction                        ——————–> Better Results

  • greater engagement

  • improved performance

What differentiates positive leaders from the rest? Instead of being concerned with what they can get out of their employees, positive leaders search for opportunities to invest in everyone who works for them. They view each interaction with another person as an opportunity to increase his or her positive emotions.

What is the essence of being a positive leader? Focusing on the best in others while working on becoming the best of ourselves. 

By using our powerful and highly performance oriented tools:

  • You can become a Positive Leader and build a Positive Organization.
  • You can permanently transform the culture of your organization towards a positive, strengths’ based culture, where people can flourish.
  • You experience immediate financial and time saving results 
  1. Reciprocity Ring by Humax

Reciprocity Ring® is a guided collaboration exercise that generates High Quality Connections, strengthens networks and builds social capital. Participants are trained to make SMART requests and contribute to a “pay it forward” culture.

  • Sense of mutual accomplishment towards greater objectives.
  • Instills the practice of reciprocity across boundaries and siloes.
  • Business needs are met during the exercise.
  • Emphasizes the importance of contribution and engagement.
  • Exposes participants to the enormous depth of resources available among their colleagues.

Reciprocity Ring – a remarkable experience that changes the way we see helping, problem-solving, & social networks”. – Adam Grant, Wharton Professor, author of Give & Take and Originals.


  • >30,000 from +15 years used globally

  • Single session typically generates $150,000 – $480,000 in value realized

  • Time saved > 1,600 per session

  • Measured increase in positive sentiment, decrease in negative sentiment among users

  • Initiates generalized reciprocity and strengthens networks

How it works?

A group is gathered for the purpose of members asking for something important for them in their personal or professional lives.  It typically takes about two and a half hours and the results can be very powerful. The request is put out to the group and participants make connections, offer introductions, contacts or more tangible help with achieving member’s goals.


Allow 1.5 hours to complete one round of the Reciprocity Ring® activity, 2.5 hours for two rounds. A typical session includes introduction, one or two rounds, and a debrief. A group of 15-24 people learn the depth of resource available all around them. For larger groups multiple Reciprocity Rings® are run at the same time.

Delivery Format

The Reciprocity Ring® activity can be delivered by the licensee’s leaders, trainers, and/or facilitators after training with the Humax® training pack. Supporting materials include Power Point presentations, written instructions, training videos, and more.

Key to the effectiveness of our Global Project Team Leaders is their ability to work effectively in our highly matrixed organization. Behavior learned in the Reciprocity Ring® continues to be practiced.” –Carol S. Maskin, M.D., Vice President Product Realization/Drug Innovation.

  1. Reflected Best Self Exercise

Born from empirical research at the Center for Positive Organizations, uses stories collected from people in all contexts of their life to help them un­derstand and articulate who they are and how they contribute when they are at their best. With this new insight, the employee will feel immediately strengthened and connected to others, experience clarity about who he/she is at his/her best, and refine personal development goals to be their best self more often. The RBSE guides the employees step-by-step through the process of identifying potential respondents, making the request for feedback, creating their a priori best-self portrait, analyzing their reflected best-self stories, creating a new, reflected best-self portrait, and translating that portrait into proactive steps for living at their best.

Their reflected best self is anchored in their strengths, rather than their weaknesses. We define strengths broadly to include:

  • Their talents, or naturally endowed features and abilities;

  • Their core competencies, or personal skills and resources that enable them to add unique value to any situation;

  • Their principles, or deeply held personal values about the appropriate way to accomplish their goals; and,

  • Their identity, or the aspects of their personal background (e.g., culture, gender, education, profession, socio-economic class) that enable them to provide a distinct perspective on organizational and societal issues.

The Reflected Best Self Exercise seeks to help the employee identify her best. Her best self is what makes her unique, rare, and difficult to imitate. It is her source of sustained competitive advantage. Becoming familiar with these qualities helps her see where she has the potential to add unique value in the world.

Used correctly, the RBS exercise can help you tap into unrecognized and unexplored areas of potential. Armed with a constructive, systematic process for gathering and analyzing data about your best self, you can burnish your performance at work.

In the end, the strength-based orientation of the RBS exercise helps you get past the “good enough” bar. Once you discover who you are at the top of your game, you can use your strengths to better shape the positions you choose to play—both now and in the next phase of your career.

a British executive coach, wrote

Reflected Best Self is easily the most powerful feedback oriented intervention I’ve used in the last few years with clients… For me, it goes to the very heart of positive psychology. That is, you are already good, already unique and already accomplished. For positive change to occur, it’s a question of understanding and embodying those moments more than changing from the person you are to a different person. Like resolutions, so many personal visions are based on an ‘ought’ self (what i ought/must/should be like) when it is as simple as being at your best as often as possible.”

  1. Job Crafting Exercise

What purpose does the Job Crafting Exercise serve?

Individuals often have opportunities to redesign their own jobs in ways that better align their jobs with their motives (or the outcomes they want to get out of work), their strengths (or their strongest personal assets), and their passions (or the activities and topics that deeply interest them). The concept of “job crafting” captures this process of people making their jobs more engaging and fulfilling through self initiated changes to their formal job designs. The Job Crafting Exercise helps people:

  • Assess how their motives, strengths, and passions align with what they actually do on a day-to-day basis at work, and in response to this assessment,

  • Diagnose ways to better achieve their motives, utilize and build on their strengths, and fulfill their passions.

How does the exercise work?

To formulate a job crafting plan, the Job Crafting Exercise challenges participants to take a step back and think about their jobs in a new, visual way. This visual perspective enables participants to seek answers to a number of questions at the same time, which helps them gauge how they allocate their time, energy, and attention between their day-to-day tasks and link these tasks with their motives, strengths, and passions in a fairly clear, concise, and simple manner. The visual nature of the exercise—combined with the creativity that is fostered through the experience of playing with the tasks that compose one’s job as a flexible set of building blocks—helps people generate positive attitudes with respect to their jobs, innovative insights and ideas on how to improve their lives at work, and resourceful solutions to problems that they did not see before doing the exercise.

How can people utilize job crafting?

Using the Job Crafting Exercise Workbook, you first build a “before sketch,” breaking up your job into “task blocks” and grouping them by how much time and energy you spend on them. Then you create an “after diagram,” which is a more ideal but still realistic version of your job, a vision of something to work toward. To build your after diagram, you revise the set of task blocks from your before sketch to better match your values, strengths, and passions, which are three key traits that are helpful drivers of job crafting. Going through this process can be really eye-opening for people — they often see opportunities for job crafting they never thought about before.


How can companies best use the Job Crafting Exercise?

It’s very difficult for a company to stay innovative if everyone’s job stays the same. We’ve found that it’s most effective when an entire workgroup or team is doing the exercise together with the manager’s support and a facilitator. While you’re constructing your job crafting plan, you can talk with others who will be involved and might be able to help you execute it, and you can see how you may be able to help others implement their plans. You might see, for instance, that you’d like to spend less time on a particular task and learn that a co-worker is actually seeking to spend more time on it, so you could arrange a task swap that would be a win-win.

What’s in it for the employer?

The effects of the Job Crafting Exercise were tested in an experiment at Google. Participating in a job crafting workshop led employees to be significantly happier and more effective in their jobs six weeks later, based on ratings from their peers and managers. Although some job crafting may be good for the employee but not his or her company, our research suggests that, on average, it’s good for both.


  • The Job Crafting™ Exercise has enabled team members to more clearly define how their values, strengths, and passions connect to what they do on a day-to-day basis. This insight has really helped people identify who they are and tap into what is most important to them at work, which has made a tremendous difference for us.” Brian Welle (People Analytics Director, Google)
  • The Job Crafting™ Exercise has become a key component of our leadership training program. It gives leaders a powerful, creative, and clear method for reshaping their roles in ways that are not only inspiring and productive for them, but also for their teams. This innovative tool never fails to earn high ratings in our program evaluations.” Ginny Vanderslice, Ph.D. (President & Founding Partner, Praxis Consulting)
  1. Positive Leadership™ The Game


Positive Leadership The Game™ is an interactive card game designed for leaders at all levels that helps you generate innovative solutions to business problems through structured brainstorming. Played in groups of 3-10 people, this game uses the underlying principles of positive organizations to spark multiple strategies for leading positive change and development. Furthermore, it helps you create a more flourishing workforce that greatly exceeds performance expectations. This game is an exercise in structured brainstorming on behalf of others to help discover possible paths to flourishing and high performance.

Why use a game format? The game format helps people to engage more deeply in the structured brainstorming exercise. The competition inherent in the game creates focus and engagement. The game also engenders a sense of playfulness. Play is a central force for social life and is a key mechanism for creating high quality connections between people. Help seeking unlocks latent resources embedded within the group of likely invisible. And helping behavior generates positive emotions.


Positive Leadership The Game ™ is a card deck equipped with 88 positive strategies derived from scientific claims in Positive Organizational Scholarship. Possible uses of the card deck include:

  • Group Workshops: Groups of approximately five people can play the game in its intended form to share positive leadership strategies and solutions with each other.

  • Business Discussion Topics: Organizations can use the positive strategy cards to generate strategic discussions and spur innovative thinking.

  • Inspirational Leadership Quotes: Individuals can use the positive strategy cards as inspirational quotes or advice in a business setting.

  1. Task Enabling™ Exercise

The Task-Enabling™ Exercise (TEE™) improves how you help others and how they help you. By focusing on a specific task, project, or goal, you reflect on all the people who assist you, as well as what they do that is effective and ineffective. The TEE™ then guides you step-by-step through the process to assess who you help, analyze and identify task-enabling patterns with peers/subordinates and leaders/managers, devise action steps, and commit to making task enabling a habit. This process makes task enabling, or helping, more visible, intentional, thoughtful, and impactful for you and for others.


Leaders and coaches at work (and in life!) can be more effective and healthier if they better understand how to encourage and facilitate better task enabling. Effective task enabling between two people, or members of a team, builds higher-quality connections. Higher-quality connections foster greater trust, respect, improve coordination and collaboration, and enhance creativity, resilience, and engagement.

Four key principles underlie the power of task enabling:

  • When people are mindful of how they help others in tasks, and are mindful of how they receive help, they increase their chances of developing stronger task-enabling habits.

  • If people are mindful of who task enables them, it calls forth gratitude, which improves emotional and physical health, and can increase the quality of relationships with individuals, teams, or whole organizations.

  • If people are mindful of whom they task enable, it fosters generosity, which increases the desire to further help, as well as cultivates happiness and well-being.

  • When people seek feedback on how they task enable others, and how they accept help as well, they open themselves to infinite ways to enhance their task-enabling effectiveness.

Basis in Research

The Task-Enabling™ Exercise (TEE™) is the product of a collaboration of faculty, staff, and students at the Center for Positive Organizations at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. The TEE™ is based on research published by Jane E. Dutton in Energize Your Workplace: How to Create and Sustain High-Quality Connections at Work (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003), as well as research that documents the value of effective interpersonal helping at work (and beyond).

The methods and reflections in the Task-Enabling™ Exercise have helped me to get a better understanding of which tasks should be shared with others that would benefit not only the individual but the team as a whole. I would recommend this training to leaders and team members like who are looking to foster an environment with more effective communication and overall healthier work collaborations.” Kela Green McClure, Director of Human Resources


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