A few years ago, I was in Miami with a group of people from college. After dinner, we headed to one of the malls. As we were walking into the mall, several people were panhandling on the walkway. A few of us gave them some cash, and those of us with leftovers from dinner gave them our food. This seemed like a good idea at the time, but I have to ask myself now if I’m really showing compassion to those in need by giving them my leftovers. Moreover, as a leader, I have to ask myself if I’m giving my people my leadership leftovers.
The most effective leadership practices occur when the leader is investing in their people to make them into leaders also.
This transformational approach to leadership inspires followers to perform beyond the minimum expectation of their job. Followers beliefs and attitudes are changed. They are inspired by the leader’s example to follow in their footsteps, motivated as part of a team to accomplish more together than alone, encouraged to use their creative abilities to generate ideas that go against “the way we’ve always done it,” and receive individualized attention and support from their leaders.
Ask your people if this is how they feel about your leadership. You can’t lead transformatively if you’re holding back and leading with your leftover effort. You must prioritize your energy into those who follow you first.
Four elements are recognized as the key characteristics of a transformational leader:
1. Idealized Influence: Transformational leaders are role models in their behavior for the people who follow them
2. Inspirational Motivation: Transformational Leaders give meaning to the work of their followers by aligning their intrinsic motivations and aspirations with the vision of the organization
3. Intellectual Stimulation: Transformational Leaders encourage creativity by challenging the process, soliciting new ideas, and including followers in the decision-making process
4. Individualized Consideration: Transformational Leaders give one-on-one attention to their followers, listening to their needs and dreams and then mentoring them to meet their needs and accomplish their dreams
Research conducted for nearly 40 years has demonstrated that when leaders are transformational they achieve higher quality outcomes, greater performance from followers, retain employees longer, establish greater bonds of trust, and engage intrinsic motivational factors in their followers.
Are you applying Transformational Leadership practices with those in your charge? If not, here are a few things you can do to help you get started:
1. Embody the values and work ethic you want to see from your followers. The people who follow you won’t just do what you ask – they will also do what you do
2. Create a vision for your team that goes beyond doing their job and taps into their personal motivations, altruistic ambitions, and personal development goals
3. Encourage your team to challenge the process and come up with new ideas for tackling old problems
4. Personalize your leadership to the personalities, needs, and goals of each person following you.
Question: How closely does your leadership practice align with Transformational Leadership? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
For more on Transformational Leadership, look into the book Transformational Leadership by Bernard Bass and Ronald Riggio