Guest article by Grace Lau
There are as many different sorts of leaders, just as there are different sorts of teams and personality types but ultimately, the ability to manage change is at the heart of all great leadership.
In this brief outline, we’ll take a look at what transformation leadership means and how to do it well.
What is Transformational Leadership?
Transformational leadership is, as its name suggests, all about change. The transformational leader will take a careful look at their team and use work time management techniques to deconstruct and rebuild processes and functions so as to better reach its goals. There are four M
- Idealized Influence: The team regards their leader as a positive role model.
- Inspirational Motivation: The team is fully behind the leader in terms of focusing on achieving the leader’s goals.
- Individualized Consideration: The team members know they can go to the leader for coaching and mentoring, whether by face-to-face interactions or via online learning.
- Intellectual Stimulation: The team is challenged and activated by the leader’s ability to think creatively and originally.
What Can Transformational Leadership Deliver?
In the right hands, transformational leadership can work wonders to a team’s productivity. Other potential benefits include increased innovation and markedly better performance.
Teams also report that their work-life balance is healthier and they feel more aware of opportunities available to them. These improvements can result in an overall improvement in team morale, which feeds back into productivity. Another benefit is higher levels of staff retention.
So, it’s definitely an approach that seems to work. But what sort of person can be a transformational leader? There are some attributes that will help you succeed in this approach.
What Does Transformational Leadership Require?
Strength of Purpose
The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes.” – Tony Blair
As a leader, you may often face pressure to move in directions you don’t agree with. This is where Tony Blair’s advice is especially relevant for transformational leaders.
However, what he doesn’t mention is that “no” is also a word that you have to use carefully. You have to be able to present rejection in such a way as to keep the team member on side and enthused about the vision you’re pushing. So, whatever the means of conversation, from face-to-face to email to video chatting, you have to be able to decline a team member’s idea while keeping them feeling positive.
For all his questionable characteristics, a certain French emperor had quite an enlightened take on leadership.
When I give a minister an order, I leave it to him to find the means to carry it out.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
This is one of the central tenets of transformational leadership– having sufficient confidence in one’s team to allow them to take care of the minutiae is good for their morale and performance, and it’s good for you too. If you’re not sweating the small stuff, you can free yourself up to think about next steps in the big picture.
Transformational leaders aren’t satisfied for long. They’re always looking at what the next steps should be and how to achieve them. They’re firm in their conviction that things can always be improved.
In short, transformational leaders reject complacency in themselves and their teams.
With that said, all of this restlessness and envisioning will get you precisely nowhere if you can’t get others to share your perspective.
For this reason, your ability to communicate is absolutely key. When coaching a sales team, good communication can transform a potentially tedious run-through of processes and targets into an enjoyable and hyper-productive and positive group session.
Change can be unpredictable. There can be all manner of unintended consequences when an alteration is implemented. For this reason, a transformational leader has to be anything but risk-averse. There has to be a willingness to embrace the unpredictable in a bid for betterment.
If transformational leadership is all about change, it’s good to know that you can change, too, in order to succeed in this style of leadership. Happily, there are great sources of inspiration and learning available to give you all you need to be the transformational leader you wish to become. Your team will thank you for it.
About the author
Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud contact center platform for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Lau has previously written for Thrive Global and Trans4mind.