Positive Leadership: The Staff Series “Being Real”

September 2, 2016

By: Brian Greminger,

Professors Jane Dutton and Gretchen Spreitzer at the Ross School of Business cite in their book How to Be a Positive Leader that “…leaders, inside and outside of formal organizational roles, have the power to change trajectories of excellence in organizations.  They can unlock resources, foster positive relationship, tap into the good, and engage generative change.”  

Continue reading to hear what Brian Greminger experienced when attending the Positive Leadership Series for Staff when he engaged in “generative change” and be sure to check out his capstone (summary) project below.

Brian Greminger
Director of Application Services, Ross Information Technology
Years at Ross: 13

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

My initial feeling was one of trepidation.  I had seen and experienced HR workshops before that were an advanced form of cheerleading.  As a natural introvert, workshops of this type, in general, tend to invoke a bit of emotional stress.  However, I was curious.  There exists a perceived disconnect between what is taught and the structured interactions at Ross.  I hoped that the series would be able to show me a change.

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

The process was one that allowed participants to engage our best self – our strengths – and put them in a context to apply them to the work we do.  I was directly impacted by writing a Personal Life Statement.  That exercise provided a way to organize what we felt our purpose in life is and then to constantly review, change, and expand it.

3. What did you take away and how do you see yourself applying what you learned into your everyday life?

My main take away was a deeper sense of how my inner state could affect not only my external actions but how it could also affect all the people around me — whether you wish to think of this as good personal mental hygiene or just thinking about the positivity I can bring to the situation.

I am in; this series changed me! I take responsibility for bringing my best self to work!

4. What constitutes a positive work environment?

A positive work culture is an environment where both people and outcomes matter.


People are sometimes reluctant to look in the mirror because of all the cultural cues to see the flaws.  These sessions focused on seeing the strengths so you can accept yourself as flawed and fabulous at the same time.  It’s great to be real!

One last note: Before Dean Alison Davis-Blake left, I told her that she and her team had changed my view of Ross as a workplace.  This series of presentations was part of that validation.

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.