What IS transformational leadership? Transformational leadership is an approach to leadership that inspires and motivates individuals to achieve their full potential. This approach is characterized by a focus on personal and organizational growth, and a commitment to creating a positive impact on society. It is fundamental to successful leadership in an ever-changing world.
At its core, transformational leadership is built on a foundation of three simple ideas: create a shared vision, develop strong relationships across the organization, and maintain a laser focus on ethical practices. Transformational leaders are innovative; they use their vision and passion to engage others in the pursuit of a shared purpose. They inspire their organization to develop their individual skills and abilities, and they provide the ethical support and guidance needed to help others reach their full potential.
Transformational leaders create a shared vision. These leaders can see a better future and articulate their vision in a way that inspires others. They create a sense of excitement and anticipation about what is possible, and they use this excitement to motivate their organizations to work towards the shared vision. They encourage and empower others to collaborate with them to refine and polish that vision. It is shared because it is co-created.
Transformational leaders develop relationships with the people in their organizations. These leaders are skilled at building trust and rapport with their followers, and they use these relationships to create a sense of community and shared purpose. They are also able to provide their followers with the guidance and support needed to achieve their goals. They are “macro” managers—not micro. They trust the organizational maturity to manifest organically, because they lead from an awareness of what the future looks like.
Transformational leaders also have a strong focus on ethical leadership. They understand the importance of doing the right thing, and they are committed to creating a positive impact on society. They are role models who lead by example, and they inspire their organizations to act with integrity and purpose. They demonstrate their commitment with unwavering attention to the business goals. They take responsibility for their successes and for the lessons learned in equal measure, because they know that failure is only an inability to learn from the seemingly oppositional conditions.
Transformational leadership is a powerful approach to lead an organization, the marketplace and society. By focusing on personal and organizational growth, the leader leads with heart and mind, encouraging innovation as a cultural norm. This creates a lasting and positive influence on society, and an inspiration to others as they reach for their full potential. Whether you are a leader in a business, a community organization, or a government, the principles of transformational leadership can help you to achieve your goals and make a positive difference in the world.
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Dr. Laurel Ross