Positive Leadership: The Staff Series “Bonding”

July 1, 2016

By: , Judy Fry

Professor Kim Cameron has introduced the power of “gratitude” to many and the research continues to validate this practice over and over. Staff who attended the Positive Leadership sessions at the Ross School of Business were exposed to this research and how little changes can have a big impact. Judy Fry is well acquainted with the faculty in the Center for Positive Organizations due to her work in the Executive Education Department. Read what follows to hear her perspective on being in the “classroom” as opposed to preparing the “classroom.”

Judy Fry
Title: Business Development/Registration
Number of Years at Ross: 20

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

I had pre-conceived ideas before I attended the sessions for a number of reasons. First of all, I am on the Ross Staff Involvement Group so I was part of the planning team. I also had hopes and expectations because I work with those faculty members in the Executive Education Department. My expectations were definitely met. Attending the sessions was not only a positive experience but it was a bonding experience–a truly wonderful opportunity for Ross staff.

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

After the first session, I eagerly looked forward to each subsequent session. I came away energized. It was a great opportunity to learn from Ross faculty but also to see staff invested in what they were learning. I enjoyed the different networking activities we did at the beginning of each session–they were nifty!

I have been on the other side, helping to prepare participants in Executive Education when they were going to attend sessions presented by these faculty members. To be on the other side, as an actual participant myself, was enriching.

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

I learned about the power of being grateful and to think of positive things happening each and every day in our lives–both at work and at home. Making little changes can have powerful impacts (i.e., we sit at our desks for many hours a day, so to get up and walk for a few minutes every hour provides numerous benefits). Little changes can also lead to big changes.

I am grateful for the investment that was made to provide staff with this 6-session opportunity. We were assigned to different groups each week and I was impressed by the diversity of our staff and their depth of knowledge. The faculty were committed to us–giving their all. They even expressed their nervousness in presenting to us!

4. What constitutes a positive work environment?

My work environment is, for the most part, a positive one. Everyone has an opportunity to be heard and appreciated for their segment of our purpose. We value each other and have open communication.


I hope this can be repeated for another 72 people and that the participants realize that they are more than welcome to attend the final session–even if they don’t attend all the sessions. I also hope that the new Dean maintains the level of positivity we have attained, as well as staff involvement.

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.