Cultivating Positive Identities

November 20, 2014

By: Max Branson

“What is your vision for extraordinary leadership impact? I could get up and talk to you for forty-five minutes about what I think leadership should be, but at the end of the day, in order to make a connection between positive identities and positive leadership, the leadership vision itself has to be personal. [It has to] connect in some way to your source of inspiration. And your source of inspiration for leadership and action comes from who you are, how you see yourself, and the results you wish to create or contribute.”

With this message, Laura Morgan Roberts began her Positive Links Speaker Series session. It was refreshing to hear, considering many of us are constantly bombarded by headlines promising “THE 3 KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL LEADERSHIP,” or “5 THINGS YOU NEED TO DO TO BECOME A BETTER LEADER.” We each have a different pathway, Dr. Roberts said. But each pathway starts with the same foundation: self-leadership. Before we inspire others or change social systems, we have to change our own thoughts and patterns of behavior.

But how do we do that?

Well, we bring our best self to work every day.

But how do we do that?

We intentionally co-create conditions in which best selves thrive and flourish—we encourage best-self engagement. “We’re not just interested in having you play to your strengths more often so that you can get ahead,” Dr. Roberts said. “What we’re really interested in is the virtuous cycle.” This is the process by which we can give from positions of strength—positions that help to increase our own level of vitality, and that also create value in the social system around us. “It’s about bringing out the best in others,” Dr. Roberts added.

In essence, then, it’s about positive identity construction—which is Dr. Roberts’s research area of specialty. Watch the video below to learn more: