Positive leadership – leading with courage, compassion, integrity and humility – is a skill that is strengthened with practice.
The Project on Positive Leadership at the University of Louisville has launched a smartphone app, Leadership Amplifier, to help new and experienced leaders develop these skills by embedding them in their day-to-day activities.
“Classroom instruction helps people learn concepts about leadership and practice leadership skills, but even when people learn well, they may never translate that knowledge and skill into everyday application,” said Ryan Quinn, associate professor of management at the UofL College of Business and academic director of PPL. “Leadership Amplifier allows leaders in training to practice those skills in their everyday activities with inspiration and advice from others in a learning community.”
The app is a centerpiece of PPL’s efforts to increase positive leadership in the world by providing training and tools for developing leaders at every level – students, higher education instructors, executives and executive leadership coaches. PPL worked in partnership with Slingshot, a Louisville company founded by UofL College of Business alumnus David Galownia, to develop the app to support classroom education and make it available to everyone.
Leadership Amplifier is free to download with all the app’s functions for an individual or a community of up to three individuals to practice positive leadership. With a subscription, users can create a larger community.
“Anyone can use the app by gathering a group of people to practice leadership, setting aside regular times to make and report on plans, then give advice and feedback to others,” Quinn said. “Or they can use the app on their own by setting a regular time to make plans to practice various aspects of leadership and then reflect on those plans.”
Classes offered through the Positive Leadership Executive Education program incorporate Leadership Amplifier to help participants apply the skills and concepts they learn in the classes to their everyday lives, translating those ideas into changed behavior. Instructors can use Leadership Amplifier in undergraduate or graduate classes as well, and can join a LinkedIn page to discuss ways to use the tools for developing positive leadership.
“The Leadership Amplifier app is a great way to plan, share, analyze best practices and get feedback on your path to being a better leader,” said Beth Williams, director of UofL Health Sciences Center faculty affairs, who used the app in a class taught by Quinn.
Increasing positive leadership is the fundamental goal of the Project on Positive Leadership, founded by the UofL College of Business to create and disseminate teaching tools for positive leadership, support research in the field and collaborate with units within the university and other organizations throughout the region and beyond. In addition to the app, PPL provides other teaching tools, many of them free, on the PPL website.
“Positive leadership begins when people exhibit virtues such as courage, compassion, integrity or humility with more excellence than if they had conformed to convention,” Quinn said. “Consistent, skillful virtue requires practice in a wide array of everyday activities. Leadership Amplifier can help leaders practice these skills and turn them into habits.”