Positive Leadership in Universities – Mission Impossible?

Thursday, 13 December, 2012 - 14:00 to Friday, 14 December, 2012 - 13:45
University of Glasgow
St Andrew's Building
11 Eldon Street
United Kingdom

Positive feelings and experiences support problem-solving skills and the ability toact in an innovative way. Positive experiences are, therefore, interconnected with motivational factors and work performances. Positive psychology asks the question “what we can do right with people and how we can teach people to have more of that?”

It is obvious that the implementation of positive leadership is a very challenging task in universities. One widespread assumption is that critical dialogue is synonymous with negative critique, at the expense of other types of ‘critical thinking’. However, an organizational environment requires leaders who thrive on the challenge of change, who foster an environment for innovation and who encourage trust and learning. Positive leadership emphasizes that it is important to discuss university leaders’ self-perception in relation to the idea of caring leadership, authentic leadership and self-perception.

Professor Jari Stenvall’s and Professor Antti Syväjärvi’s presentation is based on a current research project on positive leadership in universities. In the research,university leaders from Finland and United States of America were asked to describe concrete positive or successful situations or chains of events where their leadership had a significant role. The purpose is to find out what kind of situations leaders find the most rewarding in terms of positive or successful experience. The universities selected in this research were University of Lapland and Rovaniemi University of Applied Sciences, from Finland, and the University of South Florida from the United States.

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