I get two questions all the time, “What is transformational leadership?” and the accompanying follow up question is, “How do I become a transformational leader?” Transformational leaders work in a way far more subtle than their traditional authoritarian counterparts. Instead of giving orders, it’s a style that leads to positive changes to those who follow.
Transformational leaders are generally energetic, enthusiastic and passionate. Not only are these leaders concerned and involved in the process; they are also focused on helping every member of the group succeed as well.
Four Traits a Transformational Leader Needs:
A transformational leader encourages creativity and innovation among their team. They are constantly challenging or pushing them to “wrestle” with the project, to get them to achieve a higher level of performance. It’s important to encourage your team to question the most basic way of thinking, to get the results you want.
Another aspect of transformational leadership is the ability to foster healthy, supportive relationships with your team. This includes keeping the lines of communication open, so that your team feels the freedom to share ideas. When team members feel there’s a freedom to discuss ideas openly, it brings out the very best of the group. Greater team-cohesion is created by being attentive to your direct reports needs and concerns.
Vision casting is a key element in becoming a transformational leader. With proper vision casting, the leader is able to inspire and motivate their followers to fulfill the goals of the team and the organization with ease. It’s imperative that you continue to help your team see the horizon and stay focused on the end result.
Being a role model is the most important aspect of being a transformational leader. If your team doesn’t look to you for leadership, then there will be a severe breakdown in your group’s effectiveness. One way to be a role-model is to walk the talk; your direct reports will follow a leader they trust and respect. People are looking for a leader they can rally behind and in turn will do what it takes to get the project done.
Why does Transformational Leadership Work
Transformational leaders hold positive expectations for their team and believe the best in them; as a result, they inspire, empower, and stimulate followers to exceed normal levels of performance. In addition, these leaders focus on their direct reports personal needs and development to achieve organizational success.