Positive Leadership: The Staff Series “Attitude”

May 20, 2016


“Positive leader,” “Positive work environment,” “Positive business” – what do these terms really mean? Dean Alison Davis-Blake defines them for students in this way: 1) “creating economic value,” 2) “creating great places to work where people flourish,” and 3) “how to be a good neighbor in their community, nation, and the world.”

Last fall, the Ross School of Business decided to take this idea of “Positive Leadership” one step further by offering their staff a six-session series on “Energizing the Positive Leader in You.” This novel idea was embraced by both the Dean of the School and the faculty who taught the sessions.

What follows is the first in a series of interviews conducted with the attendees of these presentations noting their pre-conceived ideas, their experiences, takeaways, and reflections. Have you ever had a “life changing” event at work? Find out what Linda Lillemoen discovered when she attended these sessions.

Linda Lillemoen
Student Affairs Program Manager, Global MBA
Years at Ross: 14

1. Before you attended the sessions, what did you think you were going to gain from them?

I thought it would be beneficial but I never thought it would life changing. I was inspired to attend because I had seen Professor Spreitzer speak at our MAP Boot Camp. She has a way about her that reaches out to every person in the class – she really cares!

2. How would you explain/describe the experience of attending these sessions to a close friend or family member?

I have worked here a long time and we have never had this type of opportunity in the past. I tried to explain this to someone who worked here years ago and they could not understand what I was talking about.

The classes made me stop and think. In fact, on the days we had class, I couldn’t wait to get into work. Every day now I wake up with a purpose. My biggest take-away: It is my responsibility to be positive. I also know more people in the School, which made my work world bigger. Being the best you can be is all about attitude. When I interview people for positions in the School, I love being able to tell them about the amazing opportunities we have here at Ross – this program is an example of one of them.

3. What constitutes a positive work environment?

Working with a good manager/supervisor but also enjoying the people around me. Having the ability to interact with others and share ideas is very helpful. I believe that if more people attended this training, they would be more open to new ideas.


Maybe faculty could attend. It would be nice to have others experience these sessions – especially those who are not aware of the incredible value they bring.

These opportunities benefit me and they benefit our community. I would love to see more! We are so fortunate to be able to have amazing faculty here and to learn from their areas of expertise. These sessions were informative, life changing, and fun!

If you would like to discover how to be a more effective and positive leader, we highly recommend that you read the book How to Be a Positive Leader: Small Actions, Big Impact, edited by Jane E. Dutton and Gretchen M. Spreitzer.

Positive Leadership: The Staff Series is a group of interviews capturing staff reflections after participating in the Positive Leadership Workshops.