By William Seidman Transformational leadership is vitally important in the face of transactional pressures. It’s so important not to get caught in the small stuff. I talked with a transactional manager who is faced with significant demands for leading a transformation. He’s having a very hard time. Globalization and other market forces are changing his company’s landscape. The company must change or drop to a second tier position. He knows that change is essential, but few of his strategies for optimizing performance are working for him right now. He’s narrowed his focus to those things he can control and reduced his people’s autonomy, at the very time when he needs to think bigger and empower people more. This is increasing his personal workload — now everything has to go through him, making him even more transactional. He is the (famously misattributed to Einstein, Mark Twain, and others) definition of insanity in that he keeps doing the same transactional behaviors yet somehow expects to get a different result. They’re not working, so he’s understandably confused and angry. It is sad because he is a good person whose past transactional success is blocking him from responding to the current and future needs, which require his transformational, not transactional, leadership.]]>

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