Positive Leadership: The Staff Series “Transformation”

July 15, 2016

By: , Mary Witalec

When Professor Robert Quinn talks about leadership, he has stated that: “One key to successful leadership is continuous personal change. Personal change is a reflection of our inner growth and empowerment.” Staff at the Ross School of Business were given an opportunity to hear Professor Quinn talk at the “Positive Leadership” series held last fall. Sr. Systems Analyst, Mary Witalec, shares with us the impact of hearing Professor Quinn and others talk on “Energizing the Positive Leader in You.”

Mary Witalec
Sr. Systems Analyst
Number of Years at Ross: 24 years

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

I didn’t have any pre-conceived ideas, but was drawn to the concept of “positive.” I thought I should know more about what “Positive Organizational Scholarship” is.

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

I really did describe these sessions as “transformative”. There were so many concepts presented, but one that really struck me was exploring the notion of “What is my purpose?” in a meaningful and productive manner. With that sense of purpose, I am able to focus on the most critical issues–at both work and home. I am more proactive about reaching out to external constituents, and more confident about my role in the department.

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

I am now more aware of the choices I make both in how I react to things and how I think about planning my work day. I try to make choices that align with what I know are the goals of my department. At work and in my personal life I find that I have more confidence in dealing with situations that had in the past really bogged me down.

4. What constitutes a positive work environment?

A positive work environment is a place where you truly understand the importance of your role and you are fully engaged in the success of your group. This environment is one where negativity can be quickly resolved and people are focused on being 100% there–a very rewarding environment.


I was amazed at the level of research that proved what I intuitively thought to be true. I now have the evidence to back that up. The passion of all the faculty presenters illustrated to me that the ideas they proposed have been proven over and over again–they were living their passion!

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.