Discovering the Link BetweenTransformational Leadership & Positive Deviants
Transformational Leadership for the Rest of Us
by William Seidman, Ph.D. & MichaelMcCauley
Leadership is an important topic for most organizations. Why is leadership, particularly transformationalleadership so important? This series of articles will explore a new model of transformational leadershipand how it enables your organization to achieve long-term high performance.
Most leadership models seem to require a demanding, but uncommon balance of diverse skills,knowledge and experience that relatively few people have. Fortunately, there is a way to generate theimpact of transformational leadership without relying on the extraordinary skills and experience of atransformational leader. This approach makes the performance improvement opportunities correlatedwith transformational leadership available to any organization.Research has shown that
directly correlates to long-term high performance.
Yet when we ask our colleagues: “Thinking of all of the executives and managers you know, how manywould you consider transformational leaders?”
heir answer is almost universally: “Very few.” If
transformational leadership is so important to organizational success, and we spend significant amounts of
time and money trying to develop such leaders, why aren’t there more of them?
What Defines A Transformational Leader?
A transformational leader, usually in conjunction with anexecutive team, creates a vision for success. This person is an enthusiastic, self-confident proponent of change whose personality and actions influence people to behave in ways that drive substantiveperformance improvement. They create and communicate compelling visions for the future that inspirelarge numbers of people to function at higher levels than previously imagined.Here are a few tips to generate the impact of transformational leadership without relying solely on atransformational leader:
Identify and Leverage Your Positive Deviants
Positive Deviants can perform many of the functions of a transformational leader. The organization’s
positive deviants can create and articulate passion for a change in a way that energizes others.
How do they do this? Positive deviants love what they do. Underlying this love is usually an unarticulatedcommitment to a greater social good. Positive deviants are passionate about the social good they arecreating and can provide a specific definition of the inspirational vision that can align with and
supplement the leaders’ vision. The positive deviants can refine the general vision of the non
-transformational leader and present it to the organization as an inspirational message about the socialgood, backed up with an effective means of achieving it. Consequently, these individuals collectivelycreate a passionate vision of success so the leader does not have to be particularly visionary or articulate.