In today’s evolving corporate landscape, transformational leadership is an essential asset to a company. To beat competition, businesses must go beyond conventional management techniques to inspire and motivate individuals to unlock their full potential. Good leadership empowers team members to overcome challenges, think out of the box and embrace working styles that increase productivity and lead to targets and goals faster. Understanding the principles, characteristics and essence of transformational leadership will enrich team-building efforts and guide teams to excellence.
Concept of Transformational Leadership
The technique of transformational leadership was first described by American historian and political scientist James MacGregor Burns in his 1978 book “Leadership.” Fellow scholar Bernard M. Bass further expanded the concept in the 1980s. MacGregor studied numerous political leaders, such as Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, and it was during this time that he formulated his theories, such as Transformational and Transactional Leadership.
Characteristics of Transformational Leadership
Transformational leadership is all about creating a sense of purpose in the workplace. It goes beyond reward-based performance and focuses instead on fostering relationships, development, growth and a shared vision or goal. At the core of this common vision is the transformational leader catalyzing, motivating, and encouraging a team to take challenges head-on, think creatively and constantly improve. The transformational leader inspires, is a role model and leads from the front spurring his team to action. According to BASS, there are four elements of transformational leadership. These are:
- Idealized Influence: A manager with ideal influence over workers is a trustworthy role model who sets an example for others. Such leaders project a clear vision to the team and cultivate a sense of belonging within them. Individuals are then influenced to feel purpose-driven and vital to a company’s shared vision and long-term objectives.
- Inspirational Motivation: Describes the charismatic office manager who motivates a team to commit themselves to the company vision. Such leaders can be outspoken with a robust optimistic personality and presence in the workplace. Such leaders are essential in boosting morale and encouraging workers to go the extra mile. They will also help bring out the best in people.
- Intellectual Stimulation: This describes a manager who encourages creativity and innovation. A true leader motivates people to experiment with ideas and challenge the status quo. Such leaders are highly knowledgeable about their field, excellent problem solvers, and use their intelligence to inspire others.
- Individual Consideration: Team leaders with good coaching abilities who help associates reach organizational goals. Such leaders are influential in creating diverse and supportive environments which focus on the individual. They will recognize and nurture each team member’s unique strengths and talents, even listening to their opinions and needs. They will guide, mentor and train individuals to develop skills and reach their full potential in hopes of creating future leaders.
Characteristics of a Transformation Leader
Becoming a transformational leader is not an overnight phenomenon. It requires hard work and is suited to performance-driven, motivated individuals aspiring to surge ahead in their careers and inspire others. Transformational leaders encourage people to unleash their creativity and develop strategies to improve an organization.
- Strong Leadership Personality
- Good risk management
- Encourages Team collaboration
- Inspires and motivates the team to achieve greatness
- A strong sense of corporate culture.
- Emphasizes employee development.
- Creates a sense of purpose in the workplace.
- They exert a positive impact on the organization’s culture.
- A decisive role model with high values
- Takes team opinion into account for more cooperation
- Cultivates company vision within the team
- Works as a transformational agent within an organization through example
Benefits of Transformational Leadership
Transformational leadership plays a vital role in an organization’s growth because it is ultimately a leader’s efficiency that determines organizational success.
Vital to Organizational Management
Transformational leadership is vital for effective managers because leader effectiveness determines the organization’s ultimate success. According to one study, organizations that take the time to teach leadership are far ahead of the competition. By being familiar with the transformational leadership approach and integrating the four ‘I’s model, managers can become influential leaders in the corporate world.
Creates a Stress-free Working Environment
The transformational leadership model through intrinsic motivation can cultivate a stress-free environment fruitful for employee performance. It improves employee self-confidence and empowers them to perform duties efficiently and make decisions they were trained for. Transformational leadership does as much for an employee’s well-being as it does for a team leader.
Good For Organizational Productivity
Transformational leadership achieves positive outcomes by increasing employee work performance and reducing employee burnout and stress. It upgrades the employee mindset to a state of self-value, significance, and purpose in an organization. Further benefits of transformational leadership for organizations are:
- Improves business performance and productivity
- Drives engagement and enhances communication
- Encourages better collaboration
- Transforms the workplace culture
- Creates a purpose-driven culture between leaders and employees
- Increases an employee’s self-esteem
- Ensures targets are met
- Stimulates organizational growth and development
How to Become a Good Transformational Leader
To be an excellent transformational leader means sharing an organization’s vision and inspiring others to believe it. It requires developing people and individual skills in the same breath, instrumental in resolving office conflicts to ensure a healthy working environment. Here are some of the ways you can be an excellent transformational leader.
Loyalty and Personal Integrity
To inspire people to commit to the organization you represent, you must be loyal within reason. Your mission needs to be synonymous with the organization’s vision, and you need to sell it earnestly and enthusiastically. However, loyalty also means helping the company acknowledge and rectify flaws detrimental to its health. To make yourself worth emulating, you must possess a sense of integrity and sincerity for others to see the good in you.
A good transformational leader should know how to change an audience’s opinion. While a rare quality, you must approach people with a clear sense of well-defined goals. Believing in what you stand for is one way to make others see the resilience of your opinion. It helps change people’s minds faster.
Be an Intellectual Stimulant
A good leader encourages people to start thinking about their words and actions. Stimulating a team’s intellectual process is one step forward in stimulating activity. You need to challenge people’s notions when they begin questioning their methods of operation and how these could be changed for the better.
A good transformational leader is a compassionate communicator, often taking time to understand the needs of his team. They are egotistical, but absorbs team ideas and opinions valuable to the organization. You need to make your team feel that they matter to the organization.
Help Others Develop and Grow
A good transformational leader trains, mentors, and coaches their team to encourage individual growth. They need to help team members recognize their strengths and build upon them to excel in their respective fields. This often leads to organizational success.
Transformational leadership is not a one size fits all model. It varies in actions and methods depending on the circumstances and situation. A team leader needs to understand that true success is not measured by how well they lead a team but by the team’s collective success and accomplishments. Embracing all the above qualities, and skills, creating a compelling vision, encouraging, and empowering employees and making each one feel integral to the organization’s vision makes a great team leader. The success of a team automatically leads to leadership success.