Successful businesses need exceptional leaders.
Especially at the times of changes, they need executives who can quickly adapt to new circumstances, and empower others to accept these changes, and search for new, more efficient ways to overcome challenges and prosper.
Transformational leadership is one of the most effective strategies to implement when changes are inevitable, as it can make a real difference when it comes to whether businesses can adapt to transitions.
As the business landscape has become increasingly dynamic, businesses will need more of these leaders to gain and keep their competitive edge.
Read on to learn more about transformational leadership and its hidden power.
What Is Transformational Leadership?
Transformational leadership is a style in which leaders encourage, motivate, and inspire employees to embrace the changes, create, and give their contribution to the process that will shape the future of the organization.
According to LHH Gulf, businesses need to keep adopting to the changing times we live in. Every single year presents its own sets of challenges and opportunities. The change needs to come from the top and hence the leaders of the organization need to adapt themselves according to the needs and times. If the leadership of an organization gets slow, its result will reflect in the way the business is run.
They inspire others by setting their behavior as an example, and by instilling a strong sense of corporate culture, that focuses on autonomy, ownership, and independence at the workplace. Their behavior affects others to achieve great things and perform beyond their recognized capabilities.
Transformational leaders can be identified by four separate elements, also known as 4Is.
- Idealized Influence. These leaders are highly respected within a group, and they provide a clear vision and a sense of belonging to others. They are potent role-models that empower others to internalize long-term goals and act toward achieving them.
- Intellectual Stimulation. These leaders create an open environment where new ideas are appreciated. They inspire others to challenge their beliefs, values, as well as the existing practices.
- Inspirational Motivation. Transformational leaders inspire commitment by the strength of intrinsic motivation. They raise team morale by motivating their team members on a personal level, encouraging them to work even harder to achieve shared goals.
- Individualized Consideration. They will do their best to establish a diverse and supportive environment for their employees and have a considerate, personal approach to each one of the team members.
Such leaders engage with their team members, rather than taking an authoritative approach. Their mindset is closer to the one of a mentor or a coach, that knows their team members on a personal level, know how to challenge them so that they can grow and achieve both their own and organizational goals. They know how to provide support to each one of their team workers when they are facing professional or personal challenges and are considerate of the needs of those who are returning to work after an extended leave.
Since transformational leaders never lose sight of employees that work under them, they are aware of their strengths and their efforts, so they can follow their progress and advocate for them. A corporate culture that nurtures such an atmosphere is based on acknowledgment and trust, resulting in much higher engagement and satisfaction of the employees.
Six Secrets of Transformational Leadership
One of the leading theorists of transformational leadership, Dato’ Sri Idris Jala, a famous Malaysian politician and a master of turnarounds in the business world, claims that there are six essential traits of transformational leadership:
- Play the Game of the Impossible. Don’t be afraid to set the goals that are impossible to achieve and ensure that everyone realizes that it is ok to fail. People can give their best and be creative in overcoming challenges only when they are not afraid of failure.
- Use KPIs as Anchors. Start with the key performance indicators and move backward so that you can identify and focus on the activities needed to achieve the desired outputs.
- The Discipline of Action. Any transformation should be broken down into particular actions, with planned funding and defined responsible persons.
- Exercise Situational Leadership. A good transformational leader will know how to read organizational signs and adapt their style of leadership to the circumstances. At times, they will need to be more directive, while most of the time, they will need to empower people around them.
- Build a Winning Coalition. Good transformational leaders will be able to recognize polarities and conflicting views. They will also be able to create and maintain collaborative networks.
- Accept “Divine” Intervention. Leaders need to acknowledge the uncertainty and the fact that we function in complex systems. We can’t always control the outputs, no matter how much effort we put in.
The lessons Idris Jala teaches us on transformational leadership can be applied both to the world of business and politics, wherever changes are inevitable to happen, and innovative and influential leaders are needed to set the course.
Become a leader that can inspire and unite your employees with a shared vision and common goals. That is when real changes will start to happen.
About the Author
Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle.