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Discovering the Link Between Transformational Leadership & Positive Deviants

Discovering the Link Between Transformational Leadership & Positive Deviants

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Leadership is an important topic for most organizations. Why is leadership, particularly transformational leadership so important? This series of articles will explore a new model of transformational leadership and how it enables your organization to achieve long-term high performance.
Leadership is an important topic for most organizations. Why is leadership, particularly transformational leadership so important? This series of articles will explore a new model of transformational leadership and how it enables your organization to achieve long-term high performance.

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Published by: William Seidman, Ph.D for Cerebyte on Jun 09, 2010
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Discovering the Link BetweenTransformational Leadership & Positive Deviants
From
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
transformational leadership
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?”
T
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.
 
 
In addition, positive deviants are simply more committed and efficient than others at driving toward theirsocial goals. They concentrate on the specific behaviors that provide the maximum value. Thus, positivedeviants continuously model personal drive, frequently discovering new possibilities for performanceimprovement. Their inherent innovation provides colleagues with significant stimulus for originalthinking and improved efficiency.Who are your positive deviants? Chances are you already know exactly who the positive deviants are inyour organization. These are the few people in an organization who consistently and systematicallyoutperform others, even with all of the same resources and limitations. They are often highly respected fortheir energy, excitement and effectiveness.
Use Fair Process to Promote Engagement
People respond better to a change when they are treated with honor and dignity during the change
 process. When an organization gives its people a genuine opportunity to achieve the positive deviants’
social good, people often feel that they are being honored by t
he organization’s faith in their ability to
contribute and they embrace the desired change.The impact of fair process on motivation is magnified when people envision themselves as being as wellrespected and effective as the positive deviants. This form of visualization releases neurotransmitterssimilar to endorphins that create a sense of well-
 being and increase people’s willingness and ability to
learn. People are motivated to embrace a change because it is the right thing to do.The positive deviant social good, if presented with fair process and positive visualization accomplishesmany of the motivational impacts of a transformational leader. All that is needed from the leader is thewillingness to have the positive deviants articulate their social good and to have others interact with thesocial good in this rather unconventional way. The system creates the same motivation, or more, than theleader.
Allow Time to Practice the New Capability
There is no Twitter version of change. Change always takes time and practice. Patient and support by theorganization for the practice gives personnel the time and opportunity required to learn something new,and become really good at it.This is also consistent with the research on how human brains process information. The key principle of 
learning is “neurons that fire together wire together,” which occurs when people practice the new
capabilities. Conscious practice alone can creates many of the impacts of transformational leadership.
This article is from our collection of Executive Operations articles about using the latest science tointegrate human support and persuasive technology to produce extraordinary performance. Our focusis to provide information to quickly and efficiently create a high performance corporate culture.
About the Authors
William Seidman, Ph.D. is the Chief Executive Officer and President of Cerebyte, Inc. He is arecognized thought leader and expert on management decision-making and Executive Leadership.

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