Health & Human Services, Enrichment, and Business and Management Enrichment Health and Human Services Business & Management

Applying Positive Psychology to Build High Performing Workplaces

Chances are you've seen the unfortunate impact of negativity in the workplace. Negative mindsets and interactions can breed conflict and erode productivity.

Research in the field of positive psychology shows that positivity can be learned and, when applied, can lead to high performing teams and workplaces.

In this workshop we explore how to apply this research through techniques that increase optimism, build on strengths and foster the proper balance between inquiry (asking questions) and advocacy (stating viewpoints).

Certain mindsets and perceptions of others can limit the choices we have in approaching conversations and in maintaining healthy, conflict-free relationships. Using the appreciative inquiry method, we will practice how to ask the right discussion questions of team members to build better team cohesion, collaboration and communication. Through exercises and case studies we will practice these skills and be prepared to apply them immediately in the workplace.

After the session, participants will be able to:

  • Describe scientifically validated understandings of positive psychology principles and their impact on individual and workplace performance
  • Identify and apply strategies to decrease negative emotional patterns and increase positive emotions personally and within their work teams
  • Define and practice techniques to balance inquiry and advocacy as well as determine where they personally fit in the inquiry and advocacy continuum.
  • Develop and use appreciative inquiry methods for building team cohesion

Course fee includes Advocacy/Inquiry Skills Inventory by Kittie Watson, PhD and Larry Barker, PhD.

Janet Edmunson, M.Ed. Janet is President of JME Insights and partner in sPeak Performance providing training, consulting and presentations to industries of all types. Janet has over 30 years' experience in leadership in both large and small organizations. Prior to starting her consulting and training company, Janet retired in 2007 from her 12 year career at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts as their Director of Prevention & Wellness. She grew the program from two employees to a staff of 20 who worked with over 400 employer groups and a budget of over $5 million. Earlier Janet was the Corporate Manager of Wellness Programs for a Fortune 50 company (Georgia-Pacific Corporation). She has also been a leader in, or consultant to, small and mid-size businesses, including New England Telephone and the Boston Five Cents Savings Bank. While still working full-time, Janet took care of her husband, Charles, during the five years he fought a rare neurological disease. In her book, Finding Meaning with Charles, she wrote about how they strived to maintain a positive attitude throughout. Janet recently retired as chair of the Board of Directors for the national Foundation for PSP | CBD and Related Brain Diseases, having served from 2009-2013. She is also on the Board of Trustees for the Employee Ownership Foundation. Janet is a former President of the Association for Worksite Health Promotion and has a Master's degree from Georgia State University.

Katherine Maloney, M.B.A., is an accomplished coach, program manager, facilitator, and consultant with over 25 years of experience in Human Resources helping individuals and teams connect with success in health care, financial services, and higher education organizations. Workplace affiliations and clients have included Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Fidelity Investments, Bank of Boston, and Babson and Emmanuel Colleges. Currently, Katherine provides career coaching for individuals and organizational consulting focused on building positive workplaces through her firm, WorkPaths Consulting.


Thursday, April 10, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Registration has ended. Please browse courses for future offerings of this course.

$195 (7 contact hours/ 0.7 CEUs)
Abromson Center, 88 Bedford Street, USM Portland campus