Positively Energizing Leadership Book Summary - Positively Energizing Leadership Book explained in key points
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Positively Energizing Leadership summary

Kim Cameron

Virtuous Actions and Relationships That Create High Performance

4.6 (356 ratings)
17 mins
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    Positively Energizing Leadership
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    Positive energy helps us take positive action – but conscious effort is needed to tap into its full power.

    A 2005 study discovered that pain levels were significantly lower for surgery patients recovering in a sunny room filled with natural light, compared to those placed in an artificially lit room. Similar findings on the restorative traits of light have been found for people suffering from depression. 

    The ancients knew about the healing properties of light, too. Systematic sun exposure has long been used medicinally by Buddhists as well as in Egyptian, Greek, and Indian cultures. 

    Light is a form of positive energy – of heliotropic energy, or energy that supports and sustains life. Virtue is another. In fact, light and virtue are deeply intertwined not only metaphorically but also, some scholars argue, biologically. 

    For example, scientists have found that light is the key to regulating our circadian rhythms, which keep our bodies healthy and balanced. Sunlight keeps our levels of hormones such as melatonin (which controls sleep) and leptin (which controls our ability to feel hunger) in check, while disruptions to our sleep can cause a variety of conditions including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. 

    Similarly, virtue is associated with positive physiological effects such as healing, brain activation in children with ADHD, and lower cortisol and pain levels. 

    But if positive energy is such a powerful thing, why do our lives seem dominated by dark, negative energy? Well, it’s an interesting question. A study by Wang, Galinsky, and Murnighan showed that we spend more time thinking about negative relationships than positive ones – and that we consistently seem to need much less information to confirm a negative trait vs a positive one in other people. But despite this, they also found that our behavior is most powerfully affected by positivity. In other words, while our emotional and psychological reactions tend to be more sensitive to the negative, our behavior is most amenable to change when positive things happen. 

    What this means is that we don’t need much assistance in internalizing negative energy – but we could all use a little help to focus on pursuing positive, life-affirming energy. After all, it’s through this energy that positive change happens. In the next section, we’ll get started on showing you how you can do this.

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    What is Positively Energizing Leadership about?

    Positively Energizing Leadership (2022) offers organization leaders and workers a practical guide to understanding and harnessing the power of positively energizing characteristics and interpersonal approaches. With empirical data and how-to advice, it aims to boost innovation, profits, and compassion in the workplace and at home. 

    Who should read Positively Energizing Leadership?

    • Anyone working as part of a team 
    • Managers who want to increase interpersonal richness in their organization 
    • Leaders looking for strategies to deal with a “black hole” of a worker 

    About the Author

    Kim Cameron, PhD, is a professor of Management and Organizations at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. A pioneer of positive leadership, his work on the power of virtue to transform organizations has been published across more than 140 academic articles and 15 books. 

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