If you were to reflect on the similarities between Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Oprah Winfrey, Henry Ford, or Steve Jobs, what key characteristics would you point out first?
Regardless of where you stand when it comes to these icons, one thing is certain — they earned a reputation as some of the world’s most influential leaders, and they did so by driving change and inspiring people to action.
And they’re all examples of the same leadership style.
Traditional leadership, at its core, is transactional — you do this and get that reward. Traditional leaders exert control over followers; they value structure and often rely on a hierarchy to achieve this control. A transactional leader is one giving orders for others to follow at the risk of dealing with a consequence, as you’ve likely seen many times throughout your professional career.
Transformational leadership flips traditional leadership on its head. Transformational leaders inspire and motivate employees to be active participants in the success of the organization instead of relying on risk and reward systems.
Transformational leaders develop soft skills like strong communication and empathy, priceless tools in their toolkit, as they connect with employees to bring out the best in them. They dig deep to define and clarify the organization’s values, vision, and mission — and use these to build a path forward for the organization as a whole. This increased sensitivity and perception allow them to step into an organization and discover its greatest pain points, quickly devising a strategy to address them and leading the organization to realize its biggest goals.
There are countless benefits for organizations with transformational leaders — here are just a few of them.
The benefits of transformational leadership
Transformational leaders attract passionate, talented individuals who are driven by motivations other than money. An organization guided by a transformational leader is in a better place to deal with uncertainties, adapt to cultural shifts, and overcome industry challenges because the teams are engaged and see challenges as opportunities for growth.
They foster an environment where the goal is to always strive to be and do better both as a team and as individuals. So they are empowered to thrive regardless of external circumstances.
This growth mindset is the perfect foundation for innovation and discovery as it creates a playground for employees to take risks and walk the path less known, often making valuable contributions to the success of the organization.
A strong vision
Transformational leaders go beyond the how of what they do and reach the why. They consider the mission and vision of the company, keeping their purpose at the forefront of every action. They choose to do what is right instead of what is easy, creating a standard for every team member that fosters trust and well-being for everyone involved while realizing the organization’s fullest potential.
An inclusive workplace
A transformational leader identifies and understands their employee’s capabilities and appreciates how they play into the company’s success. They realize that diverse employees with a range of backgrounds and different life experiences are a powerful combination for growth. As such, they create safe places for employees to bring their unique points of view to the table — welcoming differences and finding or creating opportunities for everyone to shine through their unique contributions.
Develop these characteristics to become a transformational leader
Transformational leaders understand that their team’s collective output is far greater than each member’s individual contribution. As such, they foster collaboration and help employees see how each of their contributions adds up to a single objective within the organization.
Encourage participation and collaboration by treating employees as valuable team members, fostering opportunities for each to contribute their skill set, and opening the lines of communication.
Transformational leaders leave their egos at the door and embrace their flaws because each flaw is an opportunity for growth.
They’re able to connect, show empathy, and make an example out of their actions by owning mistakes as well as recognizing others’ strengths because, at the end of the day, each team member’s strength increases everyone else’s.
The ability to adapt to new paths makes it easier for teams with transformational leaders to correct courses and achieve desired outcomes. It also helps alleviate the fear of the unknown, building confidence and encouraging team members to take calculated risks.
To be a transformational leader, work on your self-awareness to discover your areas of improvement. Develop your communication, empathy, listening skills, and humility to improve your relationship with others.
Authenticity is an essential component of effective leadership because it demonstrates a commitment to the organization and its purpose.
Transformational leaders are honest and let their actions speak louder than their words, which breeds trust because followers can see them personify what the organization stands for and get inspired to do the same.
Authenticity may feel vulnerable and risky. But embracing your true self is essential to build a solid foundation and earn the trust of your team.
Leadership starts from within
Transformational leadership is all about realizing your fullest potential individually so that you can bring out the best in others and align your team to achieve an objective that’s greater than each of your individual roles.
Transformational leaders inspire, motivate and shape their employees’ view and their roles within the team by complementing each other’s weaknesses and playing to their individual strengths to accomplish better outcomes together.
Is it time to unlock your hidden talents and achieve the impact you’re capable of within your organization? Book a discovery call now, and together, we will explore the best path forward on your leadership journey.