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February 2020

Transformative Employees: Born leaders, or made leaders?

It’s a trending catchphrase in HR these days, but the idea of transformative employees is not a new one. Go back in time and you’ll find a lot of other nicknames, like game changer. Mover and shaker. Plugger. Coffee achiever, if your memory goes back that far.

Whatever the name, the transformative employee is someone who seems to share the passion and drive of you, the entrepreneur. It’s someone who steps up naturally to lead others, without losing focus on the day-to-day function of the business. It’s someone who manages that perfect balancing act of doing the job—and then doing a whole lot more. 

Born or made?
So do these individuals bring this strength to the job by virtue of their character, or is it a product of coaching and training? There’s a lot of published thought on both sides of the question, particularly as applied to the question of management style, with “made” emerging as the consensus answer. In my experience, however, it’s a combination of both. 

It starts at the top
In a previous blog, Laurence Marx spoke about the importance of employee culture as an element of your business plan. Transformative employees—that is, those with the character to be transformative employees—are naturally drawn to those cultures that align with their values and ambitions. But on the other side of the equation, those employees are most likely to flourish in their work environment when they receive coaching that reinforces their natural talents.
A little bit of born, a little bit of made.

Finding the transformative employee 
For most growing small businesses, chances are you have—or are building—the culture you need to cultivate the transformative employee. What you lack, however, is the time and resources to identify that employee from the stack of resumes piled up in your inbox. Small businesses fall into the trap of having no time, energy or resources to find the right hire. They tend to react quickly. A mid manager level employee who gets hired and fired within 2 years can cost as much as $200,000! 

That’s where outsourcing HR functions can helps save a lot
of time and expense.