Craig Dowden Ph.D.

Do Good to Lead Well – The Science and Practice of Positive Leadership

Do Good to Lead Well – The Science and Practice of Positive Leadership shares evidence-based leadership practices, which contribute significantly to intangible (e.g., increased employee engagement, improved job satisfaction) and tangible (e.g., higher productivity, etc.) benefits for the organization. Based on his Amazon best-selling book, which was published by Forbes and has been endorsed by over 30 CEOs and international best-selling authors/TED speakers, including Adam Grant, Daniel Pink and Marshall Goldsmith, this session will review each of the six pillars of positive leadership while providing concrete tips and strategies that attendees can immediately apply in their day-to-day work. The pillars that will be covered include:

  • Self-awareness: The foundation of positive leadership Civility matters!
  • Humility as leadership strength
  • The importance of focusing on the positive
  • Engagement starts with a why! Leveraging the power of purpose
  • Who cares? Why empathy matters!

Civility matters! Building A Positive and Respectful Workplace

Research has demonstrated the key role of civility in building an engaged workforce. When disrespectful words and behaviours occur, they significantly impact our capacity to effectively work together and perform at a high level. Evidence also suggests that these behaviours profoundly affect our psychological and physical well-being. This keynote highlights what individuals can do to create a positive and respectful environment for themselves and for their colleagues. The session explores the following points:

  • Define incivility and talk about prevalent examples within our workplaces
  • Outline the benefits of a respectful workplace for individuals, teams, and organizations

Discuss evidence-informed strategies that participants can immediately apply within their workplaces to foster a respectful environment, including positive communication.

Leading in Turbulent Times: The Art and Science of Resilience

Leaders today face unparalleled challenges. The depth and speed of organizational changes combined with the advancement of social media technology make it increasingly difficult to keep up and perform at their best. Not surprisingly, leaders are searching for tips and strategies for thriving in this type of environment.

At the heart of this quest is resilience, which is our capacity to ‘bounce back.’ Resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have. To the contrary, resilient thinking and behaviour can be learned and practiced by anyone.

Leading in Turbulent Times discusses the art and science of resilience. At the end of the presentation, participants learn:

  • The definition of resilience
  • How stress and resilience are related
  • Key factors that affect their level of resilience

Evidence-informed strategies to enhance their resilience at an individual, team, and organizational level

Play To Your Strengths - Maximizing Your Potential

Organizations are constantly searching for ways to maximize their potential. Unfortunately, in most cases, considerable attention is focused on fixing weaknesses and avoiding failure. An emerging body of research is challenging this assumption, by highlighting the power of leveraging our strengths. This thought-provoking workshop explores the science of strengths and highlights how the degree to which we tap into these abilities is crucial for our individual, team, and organizational success. It provides a roadmap which attendees can use to benefit from their raw talents to deliver exceptional results. Participants learn:

  • Why leveraging our strengths is important
  • Why we often fail to utilize a strengths-based approach
  • Techniques for identifying our strengths
  • How we can apply strengths within our teams

Managing Our Blind Spots: The Psychology of Effective Decision-Making

Numerous examples showcase the frailties of human decision-making. Sometimes, despite our best intentions, we make choices that undermine our own effectiveness and negatively impact the people around us. Unfortunately, we are often unaware of how strongly we are influenced by both our unconscious biases as well as our contextual environment.

This workshop delves into the psychology of effective decision-making by exploring the processes through which we each determine the ‘right course of action.’ Participants learn about these different biases as well as practical tools and tips that they can apply to circumvent potential challenge areas at an individual, team, and organizational level. Participants learn:

  • The critical role of self-awareness in successful decision-making
  • What is the self-serving bias and how can we effectively manage it?
  • Different contextual factors that can derail our ability to make effective decisions
  • How to give and receive engaging feedback to build our self-awareness.

Successfully Navigating Difficult Conversations: An Evidence-based Perspective

Many people find it challenging to successfully navigate a difficult conversation. Indeed, previous research has shown that out of 67 competencies, “conflict management” ranked as one of the top self-identified areas for development. Not surprisingly, many people avoid or delay these types of discussions for as long as possible, as they feel poorly equipped to deal with these types of interactions.

Drawing on research conducted at some of the leading universities and institutions (including Harvard), this presentation will discuss various evidence-based tools, techniques, and perspectives of navigating difficult conversations. The session will also utilize action learning techniques to apply these strategies in real-time and show how they work in practice. The ultimate goal of this workshop is to empower participants to take action when faced with a difficult conversation so they can engage in a constructive dialogue, which will successfully move matters forward with the other party.


Craig Dowden has a doctorate in psychology with a concentration in business and is a certified positive psychology coach. He is an award-winning speaker and highly respected executive coach who delivers interactive, evidence-based workshops that translate the science of leadership, team, and organizational excellence into everyday leadership practice. He was recently recognized as a Charter Member of ForbesSpeakers, a select group of 20 individuals from around the world who are “best-in-class” in their respective areas of practice.

Craig’s first book, Do Good to Lead Well – The Science and Practice of Positive Leadership, was published by Forbes on February 8, 2019. Best-selling author Daniel Pink said the book is “ideal reading for people who want to make a positive impact in their organizations.” Do Good to Lead Well is endorsed by over 30 CEOs and recognized TED speakers, including Adam Grant and Marshall Goldsmith. It has achieved Amazon best-seller status and has been picked up for national distribution by Chapters/Indigo.

Craig Dowden has been a regular contributor to, and featured expert in, top-tier leadership and business publications including Fast Company, the Financial Post, the Huffington Post, Financial Times, the Globe and Mail, and Psychology Today. He will be writing a column on the science and practice of positive leadership for beginning May, 2019.

Craig Dowden is also the Chief Leadership Officer (CLO) of Keynote Search, an award-winning firm that supports clients in their quest to Find, Fit, and Retain business-critical talent. Backed by leading AI technology, codified processes, dedicated executive coaching, and onboarding support, Keynote Search maximizes the potential success of your next hire.