Finding the Key to Positive Leadership: Applying Virtue Ethics and Inclusivity

  • Kerri Cissna
  • H. Eric SchockmanEmail author
Part of the Management for Professionals book series (MANAGPROF)


Positive leadership has evolved from the study of positive psychology and brain research (Carleton et al, Can J Behav Sci 50:185–194., 2018; Hannah et al, J Organ Behav 30:269–290., 2009; Luthans, J Organ Behav 23:695–706., 2002; Saladis, Positive leadership in project management. Paper presented at PMI Global Congress 2015—EMEA. Project Management Institute, London/Newtown Square, 2015; van Dierendonck, J Manag 37:1228–1261., 2010) and seeks to better understand the role that leaders have on their followers through invoking positive and purposeful modeling, leading to enhancing positive emotions and outcomes. The work of Kim Cameron (Positive leadership. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., San Francisco, 2008) provides a solid launching pad for the study positive leadership, which includes vital traits and skills such as positive affect, mindfulness, virtuousness, moral integrity, emotional stability, and hope. Cameron’s three connotations of positive leadership are as follows: (1) it facilitates positively deviant performance; (2) it features an affirmative bias, meaning that it is oriented toward positive instead of negative strengths; and (3) it fosters the good in people. This chapter builds on Cameron’s notion that positive leadership “fosters the good in people” and creates a formula that Virtuous Ethics + Inclusivity = Positive Leadership. This new organic leadership (and followership) framework uses virtuous ethics and inclusiveness as a roadmap to the state of organizational and personal flow. If positive leaders increase the flow of positive emotions for people to optimize their inherent strengths, then this intentional leadership style will bring out the best in people. There will be “net” positive interactions (more positive than negative); the culture will be inclusive, transparent, supportive; and there will be underlying virtue ethics at the core.


Positive leadership Positive psychology Ethics Virtue Inclusion Inclusive leadership Diversity Inclusivity Flourishing Flow 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pepperdine UniversityMalibuUSA
  2. 2.Woodbury UniversityBurbankUSA

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