Organizations today are faced with turbulent conditions, uncertain markets, and rapid changes in technology. Companies must be innovative to remain competitive.
These business challenges demand a transformational, rather than merely transactional, style of leadership.
Leaders today are expected to listen to their followers, be responsive to their needs, and include them in decision making. Mentoring, coaching, empowering, developing, supporting, and caring are not only expected leader behaviors, but necessary for today’s effective leader.
Transformational leadership requires a change in emphasis and orientation.
A transformational leader is proactive and unique in 4 ways:
1. Transformational leaders are visionary empowering leaders, who are willing to sacrifice their own advantage for the good of their team. These leaders are viewed as authentic, transparent, and have a high degree of credibility with their followers.
• Idealized Influence represents the highest form of transformational leadership. Followers place their trust in such leaders, adopt the same values the leader holds, and are committed to achieving the leader’s vision, even if sacrifice is necessary.
2. Transformational leaders send clear messages of purpose and mission, while generating excitement through high expectations.
• Inspirational Motivation is the leadership quality that moves followers to achieve extraordinary levels of performance. These leaders excite followers about the possibility of a different future. They don’t have to use “hard-selling” to do so. Rather, they articulate a vision that grasps the attention and imagination of their followers.
3. Transformational leaders cultivate strong one-on-one relationships.
• Individualized Consideration represents how well the leader knows the strengths and developmental needs of each follower, peer, and their own supervisor. They demonstrate empathy for each individual’s concerns and desires. They place strong emphasis on treating each person as a unique individual, not just an expendable commodity. This results in greater cooperation, engagement, and trust.
4. Transformational leaders generate interest in new ideas and methods.
• Intellectual Stimulation represents the strategic thinking facet of effective transformational leadership. The defining characteristic of intellectually stimulating leaders is that they approach problems, particularly repetitive ones, by questioning the assumptions that have previously been used. They allow mistakes as a constructive part of the learning process. Most importantly, they do not solve the problem themselves, but empower others to use their capability for solving the current problem.
Do you already demonstrate some of these transformational leadership behaviors? Which areas can you work on? Transformational leadership behavior can be assessed; then coached and developed. The initial focus of coaching helps you become familiar with the transformational leadership model and to become aware of your current behavior through 360◦ feedback. You then practice specific skills that help you become a more transformational leader.
Resource: B.M. Bass & Riggio, R.E. (2006). Transformational Leadership. New York: Taylor and Francis Group.