Moving Beyond Transactional Leadership: How to Be Transformative
To really engage and inspire your team, you need to do more than simply react to circumstances as they arise. You must be willing to transcend the position-oriented, rewards-based compliance that is often tied up with transactional leadership and towards a values-based style of leadership. The question is, where do you start, and how should you proceed?
First, Narrow Down Your Vision
The key to implementing a transformative leadership culture is to begin with a vision instead of a number. What do you envision for your company? Think in terms of values rather than sales or other quantifiable metrics for now. If your organization could make a difference in the world, what would that difference be?
Communicate and Inspire
Now that you have your vision clearly in mind, cultivate the art and skill of communication. To inspire others to work with you toward a common goal, you have to get them to buy into your vision, to share it with you. The punishments and rewards system of management has no place in the transformational leadership model.
Make It Happen
To be an effective leader of your organization, you have to do the hard work and get the ball rolling. It is your job to make tough decisions, take risks, rise to meet challenges and go the extra mile to see your vision become a reality. This takes courage and decisive action.
Fuel the Fire
Learning how to inspire others takes time and effort. Observe other inspirational leaders and tap into their leadership qualities and what enables them to connect with their listeners. Your passion for your project and your drive to make your vision a reality will be the main sources of inspiration for others.
Connect With the Team
Get to know your team members. Learn their names and what motivates them. Connecting on a personal level helps each team member feel that he or she has an important role to play in carrying out the company’s mission and vision.
Set the Example
Understanding your own vision and being able to communicate it to others is of no use unless you are also living up to the standards you set for the team. As a transformational leader, it is up to you to set the example you want others to follow. This goes for attitudes as well as concrete actions and behaviors you want people to emulate.
It is essential that you keep yourself motivated and inspired, and revisit your vision and mission periodically to make sure you are still on board with your stated philosophy. If you notice that your enthusiasm is starting to wane, it may be that your vision has changed or that you have gotten distracted and need to get back on track. If you find yourself in a situation where you are not following through, and people are left hanging, this could spell trouble for your organization and for you as a leader. You must continually revisit and reassess your stated goals. Having a team of trusted advisors is one good way of keeping your company and yourself on track.
Transformational leadership is based on character, commitment, attitude and pride in one’s work. These aspects of company culture filter down from leaders and managers to individual workers to create an environment where change and innovation are sought after and embraced.