What Does It Take To Be A Transformational Leader?

Transformational leadership is an innovative way of leading others within a company. It’s different to other forms of leadership in that it encourages self-growth, ultimately for the betterment of the business.

Without being a prime role model for colleagues and people in your authority, you cannot expect your team to look up to you for improvement. Trust and delegation, inspirational corporate culture and a routine of constant self-reflection will be three pillars you can always fall back on.

A model to follow

Transformational leadership can differ across a wide range of methods from business to business. It’s important to recognize that no two companies incorporating it will have the same things to say about it.

On the other hand, it is also a wise decision to seek out a trusted pre-existing model to help you. Since James Downton founded transformational leadership in 1973, different models have emerged.

Researcher Bernard Bass developed a model in the ’70s that still stands as authentic and effective. Bass sets out a handful of characteristic hallmarks that transformational leaders have:

  • Promoting the motivation and self-development of team workers
  • Placing importance on moral standards
  • Adapting a communal sense of ethical responsibility
  • Encouraging a team-focused mindset among team workers
  • Setting out clear values of originality, honesty, adaptability and communication
  • Providing the resources for advice and mentoring, though giving employees the autonomy to direct their own decisions about positive self-improvement

“Transformational leadership is best when you have a leader that teaches other people how to lead, not follow. Motivation and role-modelling are the most important parts of this.” Says Man Grissett, business blogger from Research papers UK and Writinity.

Why transformational leadership is so important

Simply put: innovation requires transformational leadership. When incorporating the whole business staff team in the creative growth of the company, there are suddenly many more minds than one. It appears obvious, but there are countless businesses who limit themselves with an authoritarian leadership style. This is an outdated, transactional mindset based on hierarchies and slow progression.

The world is changing – there are hundreds of new start-ups daily in the UK alone, meaning that competition is only becoming fiercer as time goes on. Approach this with the full force of your business team!

Using your setbacks as your fuel

When people in your team make mistakes, remove the concept of failure from your mind. Better: remove it from meeting room vocabulary. Mistakes are opportunities to examine room for improvement, better communication and more effective systems. This is how change is created in the online workplace.

“There is still an alarmingly high culture in business where leaders fear failure. Of course, this trickles down and affects all the members of the team – that’s simply what happens when you’re a role model.

As a leader focused on innovation, it is the wrong move to stick to what you know is safe and hierarchical, and it is smart to take inspiration from companies like Tesla that incorporate transformational leadership.” Says Rodney Martinez, project manager from Last minute writing and Draft beyond.

Having a collective vision

Dr. Les Stein from Northeastern’s Master of Science in Leadership Program places high importance on someone who is collaborative and visionary, when considering what makes a good leader. Sharing your vision with your employees allows a shift in mindset from an I-and-you approach to a we approach.

If you aim to show your team how much you appreciate them, put their well-being first. Teams that grow together, stay together. This will be a massive advantage to you, as it is known that people who have shared ideas collectively for longer periods of time tend to be more dedicated to them. This means your team will always be thinking of how to better the company, as it means bettering their own work.

A great example of transformational leadership that all business can look up to, is from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Through his own sacrifices, dedication and transparency, he achieved something that was new for his time: a shared vision among different people. Teaching employees to speak up when they feel something should be addressed will maintain a constant stream of executive development.

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