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Make the Positive Leader in you shine!

“All of us have the spark of leadership in us, whether it is in business, in government, or as a nonprofit volunteer. The challenge is to understand ourselves well enough to discover where we can use our leadership gifts to serve others. We’re here for something. Life is about giving and living fully.”
- Ann Fudge -

Psychologie Positive Grenoble Camille Lamouille
Paul Gibson by ©CamilleLamouille

This article is largely inspired by my former Professor Paul Gibson of the Royal Institute of Technology in Melbourne[1] who, by his teachings and his generosity of transmission, has impacted the course of my professional career, and therefore of my life.

Young 21-year-old student who has just landed in Australia, speaking a few words of English, I am late for this first lecture of the semester: "Leadership & Management". Trying to catch a word out of twenty from this professor who speaks very quickly with a well-asserted Australian accent, I quickly feel discouraged and demobilized. When, suddenly, my Professor throws a ball across the whole amphitheater to support one of his words. The experience speaks to my childish side and I decide to refocus in order to give a second chance to this course so attractive by its title. One semester and a high distinction very much later, I leave completely captivated by the discipline and begin to question my legal career which is looming. Today I am a trainer in Positive Psychology. This course, and especially Paul, were a starting event in the discovery of my potential and my aspiration for life. This is why I would like to share with you today some discoveries that have marked me, including the key skills and attitudes required to become a true positive leader. This article is a summary.

In Positive Psychology, positive leadership is defined as "the ability to mobilize, facilitate and develop a community of exceptional collaborators, using individual strengths, optimism, motivation and energy"[2].

In the footsteps of Indra Nooyi: An inspiring positive leader

Simone Weil, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, Steve Jobs, Aung San Suu Kyi… and so many other leaders who have marked the world with their commitment and their ability to engage others. What do these great leaders have in common and why do they stand out as real role models? To begin the answer, I would like to draw on the practices of a great leader: Indra Nooyi.

Psychologie Positive Grenoble Camille Lamouille
Indra Nooyi by ©CamilleLamouille

Indra Nooyi took over as CEO of PespsiCo in 2006. Upon her arrival and until the end of her activity as CEO, she led one of the biggest transformations in the history of PepsiCo which enabled the company to increase its turnover of about 80% and also to be recognized as Great Place to Work® (Trust Index survey on the quality of life at work). Indra Nooyi inspires by the principles she upholds and is known as one of the ten most powerful and inspiring women in the world, according to the Forbes and the Wall Street newspaper.[3].

Her magic formula for success, true philosophy of leadership, is simple and focuses on five principles, the "Five C's of Indra Nooyi"[4] :

1. Competence: Stand out from the crowd and continue to learn all your life;

2. Courage and Trust: Make decisions and dare to assert them as a true leader;

3. Communication: Motivate the troops, and adapt your communication to your interlocutor with social intelligence and empathy;

4. Consistency: Being a stable, reliable and determined person in order to be credible;

5. Compass: Keep your internal compass activated, stay honest and aligned.

What lessons about positive leadership?

This great leader in her own way takes up the well-known Quinn model "Framework of Competitive Values" presented below.[5] According to Quinn, a positive leader must bring together the attitudes / skills of the four quadrants and be able to juggle depending on the situation and the interlocutor.

Psychologie Positive Grenoble Camille Lamouille

By adopting flexibility and an external positioning, we find ourselves in the model of adhocracy advocating creativity, innovation, agility and openness. It is an "Entrepreneur" position.

With external positioning and stability control, we have a market orientation that induces productivity, vision, customer focus, competition and results. It’s a "Leader" position.

An internal focus correlated with control corresponds to a hierarchical model which supposes order, process, organization, stability and efficiency. It is a position of "Manager".

Finally, an internal positioning and flexibility brings us to the family model which encourages the development of human relationships, personal growth, bond, cooperation, teamwork. It’s a position of “Coach”.