ne of the most helpful techniques leaders can use to
implement the four strategies of positive leadership is
a technique referred to as the Personal Management
Interview (PMI) program. This technique is applicable in
professional settings with leaders and subordinates, in fami-
lies with parents and children, and in volunteer settings such
as spiritually based organizations or community-service
groups. The PMI program provides a straightforward way to
institutionalize the four positive strategies on an ongoing
These four strategies are most effectively applied when
specific interactions between leaders and their subordinates
are planned and conducted frequently. Whereas leaders usu-
ally have good intentions to facilitate a positive climate, pos-
itive relationships, positive communication, and positive
meaning, the press of everyday problems often drives out the
best of intentions. One attribute of positive leaders, however,
is that they provide others with opportunities to receive regu-
lar feedback, feel supported and bolstered, and be coached,
counseled, and developed. Providing these opportunities is
difficult, of course, because of the time demands most lead-
ers face. One effective technique for implementing the four
strategies leading to positively deviant performance, there-
fore, is to engage in a PMI program.
In research conducted among intact teams—such as
project teams, top management teams, consulting teams,
departmental groups—implementation of a PMI program
significantly improved the performance of these teams on
both subjective factors such as morale, trust, and engage-
ment as well as objective factors such as productivity and
goal accomplishment (Boss, 1983). Teams that imple-
mented a PMI program, for example, significantly im-
proved their performance over time, whereas teams that
did not implement PMI programs remained the same.
Teams that initially implemented PMI programs and then
stopped the program were also found to significantly im-
prove performance until cessation of the PMI program, and
then performance deteriorated.
Figure 6.1, for example, shows the performance of two
matched sets of teams. Each line in the graph represents 5
teams whose performance was measured by a combina-
tion of objective factors (e.g., productivity) and subjective
82 Positive Leadership
factors (e.g., trust). All of the teams were performing at es-
sentially the same level at the outset of the investigation,
and all 10 teams initially implemented a PMI program.
Each team’s performance increased significantly after im-
plementation. Five of the teams continued to implement
PMI and were assessed at 6-month intervals over an 18-
month time frame. Performance increased and stayed high
in these teams. The other 5 teams, on the other hand, ini-
tially implemented PMI and then stopped. At the 6- and
12-month points in time, measured performance had
fallen to previous levels. At the end of the study, the five
Implementing Positive Strategies 83
Performance Level
lementation Assessments
6 months
12 months
18 months
After initial
5 teams held PMIs
regularly for 18 months.
After initial
5 teams held PMIs
only during the
12- to 18-month period.
FIGURE 6.1 Intact Teams’ Performance Before and After
Implementing PMIs
(SOURCE: Boss, 1983)
teams that ceased PMIs were shown the data—what per-
formance levels they had achieved with PMIs and where
they were performing at the present time. These teams
reimplemented PMI programs and after 6 months had sig-
nificantly improved performance again (Boss, 1983).
Another study compared performance scores—
objective and subjective assessments—in five health-care
organizations (Goodman & Boss, 2002). Organizational
performance scores were significantly higher in each orga-
nization when PMI programs were in place compared to
when they were not. Also important is that individuals in
the organizations were also positively affected by the PMI
programs. Employees were categorized into three groups
according to the extent to which they felt burned out, over-
whelmed, and highly stressed in their work—high,
medium, and low burnout levels. When PMI programs
were in place, a majority of employees experienced little if
any burnout (53 percent had low burnout scores compared
to 29 percent with high burnout scores). When PMI pro-
grams were not in place, the larger percentage of employ-
ees felt overwhelmed (43 percent had high burnout scores
compared to 38 percent with low burnout scores).
The point is that a PMI program appears to have signif-
icant positive impact on team and organizational perfor-
mance as well as on the personal work experience of
individual employees. Empirical evidence suggests that
performance improves when a PMI program is imple-
mented, and individual employees have a more positive ex-
perience at work.
84 Positive Leadership

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