Transformational Leaders or Paragon Leaders?

Workforce Professional Preparation, Development and Training

Consequences and New Directions

Effectively managing a voluntary association in today’s chaotic operating environment requires ever more advanced and specialized management competencies. These management competencies represent a different “mix” than either for-profit or public/governmental organizations.

Regularly, charitable-philanthropic organizations are urged to “be more like business” and to more frequently use management tools to improve performance and results that were designed to be used within for-profit organizations. The overall results suggest that management tools developed and used in other sectors of the economy cannot be simply adopted, but in order to deliver their full benefits as management tool, must be carefully and knowledgeably adapted to fit the intended use within the intended organization. In fact, effectively managing a not-for-profit organization is arguably far more challenging than for organizations or units within the other sectors.

Typically, the organization not only has fewer resources to employ in fulfilling its public mission, but must do so while balancing the dynamics and variables of managing programs, volunteers, fundraising, communications, and the increasing burden of governmental regulatory administrivia.

Clearly, the performance and effectiveness of voluntary organizations can be directly correlated to the management expertise of its workforce. However, the overall depth of management knowledge and training will need to be addressed and improved based on the relative scarcity of professional workforce members with formal management education and training.

Anecdotally, the emerging issue of too few professional workforce members with formal management training was exacerbated by the pattern of promotion to management positions of staff or volunteers who have demonstrated exceptional dedication and performance of social services delivery, but who had little or no management training. While these exceptional individuals, as a class, deserve our profound respect and gratitude, “best efforts are not sufficient,” as the famed Dr. W. Edwards Deming told us. In fact, “best efforts” made by managers who do not know enough about what they are doing can be highly destructive.

Next: Conclusions

Suggested citation:

Connors, T. D. (2019). Transformational leaders or paragon leaders? In Transformational organizations: NPO crossroads. Retrieved from BelleAire Press, LLC:

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