Appreciative Leadership

Adapted from Appreciative Leadership:
Focus on What Works to Drive Winning Performance and Build a Thriving Organization
Diana Whitney, Amanda Trosten-Bloom and Kae Rader

A social transformation is taking place in organizations worldwide. Leadership practices are moving from authoritarian to collaborative, from fear-based to strength-based, and from “talking at” people to inquiry and dialogue “with” them.

Appreciative Leadership is the relational capacity to mobilize creative potential and turn it into positive power—to set in motion positive ripples of confidence, energy, enthusiasm, and performance—to make a positive difference in the world.

Embedded in this definition are four formative ideas that give meaning to Appreciative Leadership:

  1. It involves relational processes and practices through which people come together and make things happen collaboratively.
  2. It is a positive worldview, based on the belief that every person, team and organization has positive potential.
  3. It recognizes potential and seeks to turn it into positive power; that is life-affirming results.
  4. It creates waves of positive change rippling outward.

Together, these four ideals represent a paradigm shift in leadership; a clear movement away from habitual, traditional and individualistic command and control practices, toward a new normal that can help you get the results you want. The premise of Appreciative Leadership is simple, yet profound. Instead of focusing on what’s wrong in the workplace, learn about and build upon what works.