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Positive leadership yields performance and profitability: Effective organizations develop their strengths

Jay R. Tombaugh (Associate Professor of Management at the School of Business, University of Houston – Clear Lake, Houston, Texas, USA. E‐mail:

Development and Learning in Organizations

ISSN: 1477-7282

Article publication date: 1 June 2005




Traditional management techniques and change management interventions are deficit‐based. That is, they often focus on “fixing” what is wrong in our organizations by solving problems. Maintaining a committed and motivated workforce, open to learning, growth and positive change, is difficult, however, when the daily focus is on what's not working.


Growing evidence suggests that positive leadership and a strengths‐based approach to long‐term organizational change have a greater impact on performance and profitability.


Positive leaders develop such traits as optimism, self‐confidence, compassion, emotional intelligence, loyalty, and trustworthiness. Moreover, they promote a strengths‐based organizational culture that emphasizes possibilities rather than problems.

Practical implications

We need to develop leaders who can identify the organization's “root causes of success”, and build on those strengths for future performance.


The article will be of value to all those involved in leadership development.



Tombaugh, J.R. (2005), "Positive leadership yields performance and profitability: Effective organizations develop their strengths", Development and Learning in Organizations, Vol. 19 No. 3, pp. 15-17.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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