Dr. Jamie Gruman


About Dr. Jamie Gruman - Leading Authority on Positive Organizational Psychology:

Dr. Jamie Gruman is an award-winning researcher, award-winning professor, and speaker on organizational behavior and positive organizational psychology. He is the founding Chair of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Positive Psychology Association. His influential research has been cited by media outlets around the globe, and his writings have been among the most downloaded and cited articles at the journals in which they are published. He has spoken for Fortune 500 corporations, public, and not-for-profit organizations. 

Dr. Gruman’s talks focus largely on positive organizational psychology which is the study of how to create thriving workplaces. He has contributed chapters to cutting-edge books on the topic such as The Handbook of Employee Engagement and Advances in Positive Organizational Psychology and is co-editor of the book Applied Social Psychology which discusses how to use social psychology to address real-world challenges in every sphere of life.

Dr. Gruman is an associate professor in the Department of Management at the University of Guelph, one of Canada’s top comprehensive universities, and has previously worked at the University of Toronto, which consistently ranks as having one of the best business schools in the world.

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What Dr. Jamie Gruman Talks About:

Recharge Your Batteries and Get a Boost
Work tires us out, and many of us don’t recharge our batteries in our downtime. This hurts our mood, health, and performance. In this innovative talk, Jamie explains why downtime is actually inadequate for helping us recharge our batteries, and presents an effective alternative. Recent scientific developments from around the globe have shed light on the processes that reverse the draining effects of our work and help us successfully recover and replenish ourselves in our leisure time. Also, research reveals that when effective recovery occurs it not only recharges our batteries, but makes us feel happier, makes us healthier, and makes us better at handling the demands that drained us in the first place. This is called boosting, to reflect the multi-pronged benefits of successful recovery. Based on his latest book| Boost: The Science of Recharging Yourself in an Age of Unrelenting Demands, Jamie draws on the most cutting-edge science to explain how to transform our ineffective downtime into valuable uptime. Uptime is the time away from our daily obligations that successfully satisfies the factors that lead us to feel replenished, recharged, recovered, and gives us a boost.

How to Manage a Diverse Workforce: Finding Gold at the End of the Rainbow
Diversity is a double-edged sword. The benefits of a diverse workforce are often touted as key to competitive success in the modern economy, but there are also many potential disadvantages of workforce diversity, such as reduced innovation and heightened turnover. The key to unlocking the benefits of diversity is twofold: 1) helping employees understand the nature of diversity and then actively managing it, and 2) integrating diversity management practices into organizational policies and procedures. These practices avoid the simplistic prescription to simply embrace diversity, and instead recognize diversity for its strengths and weaknesses, capitalizing on the former and mitigating the latter.

The Resilient Salesperson
Theodore Geisel, the man who became famous as Dr. Seuss, had his first book idea rejected by 27 times before he successfully sold it to Vanguard Press. What accounted for his eventual success was that he was resilient. Similarly, Steve Jobs was able to build Apple despite the inevitable hurdles faced by start-ups, and Lee Iacocca was able to turn around Chrysler, because they possessed the personal resources that build resilience and allowed them to launch major initiatives and persist in the face of obstacles. So, if resilience is such an important key to success, how do we build resilience among salespeople? Resilience is fostered by the development of psychological capital. Most businesspeople know about intellectual capital (what you know) and social capital (who you know), but few know much about psychological capital (who you are) and its tremendous value in promoting business results. Psychological capital is a personal resource made up of hope, optimism, confidence and, what follows from these – resilience. Dr. Gruman is an authority on psychological capital and how it can be developed and leveraged to foster resilient salespeople. 

Leading a Culture of Resilience
Imagine a tall tree swaying in the wind. It bends but doesn’t break. And when the wind stops it returns to its upright position. This is the essence of resilience – you bend in the face of stressors, but then you bounce back. Leaders play a major role in building a culture of resilience in their organizations. Through the policies and practices they implement and their own behavior leaders either foster a resilient culture with strong employees who thrive in the face of challenges, or a fragile culture with employees who crumble easily. Leading a resilient culture requires focusing on three levels in organizations. For example, at the individual level leaders foster resilience by coaching and demonstrating to employees how difficulties can be viewed as controllable challenges rather than threats. At the group level leaders build the social scaffolding that provides support and resources necessary to address challenges. At the organizational level leaders focus on structural issues that help it and its employees maintain equilibrium by, for example, implementing cross-functional work assignments that allow employees to better understand the business environment, and joint employee-customer teams which build relationships and supply lines that help employees act quickly when problems arise.  Dr. Gruman builds on his “Positive Pathway” Model to help leaders understand how to build a culture of resilience.

Complexity Leadership
In the 1980’s Transformational Leadership was born and quickly became the dominant approach to leadership in organizations. In 2013 Transformational Leadership died. In the same way a chameleon changes itself to adapt to its environment, today’s organizations need a form a leadership that allows them to constantly morph into the form required for success. Sustained competitive advantage no longer comes from corporate strategies aimed at external threats. It comes from adaptive capacity aimed at internal realignment and change in response to competitive pressures. Complexity leadership allows this to happen. Complexity leaders don’t quell conflict and stabilize the system, they intentionally create conflict and strategically destabilize parts of the system to spur creativity. Complexity leaders don’t impose lots of structure, they promote a few simple rules to encourage swarm behavior. They don’t control organizations like engineers, they nurture organizations like gardeners, providing the enabling conditions that foster adaptability, resilience, and growth. In doing all this they surf the edge of chaos to encourage emergent change. Transformational leadership is dead. Long live Complexity Leadership.

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 Recent Publications

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  • jamie gruman psychology book - Dr. Jamie Gruman

Jamie is rare among speakers in that he is able to combine solid, evidence-based research with practical steps everyone can take to be more effective at work. And he does this with a humor and eloquence that makes his presentations as entertaining as they are enlightening.

John Brewer, Executive Conference Developer, Conference Board of Canada

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