Transformational Leadership

You know that person who draws your attention at the school board meeting with enthusiasm, engaging and thoughtful questions and passion for the kids? Or, maybe it’s your coworker, whom you are quietly thankful for, the one who encourages creativity and new ideas, who isn’t stuck in the “that’s the way we’ve always done it” mode. Inventors, community builders, visionaries, these are people showing all of the signs of transformational leadership.

What is a transformational leader?

A transformational leader inspires people to be better than they thought they could be, whether in a moral sense, in business, in their communities or in their daily lives. To go for their dreams.

Such a leader commands attention by her or his enthusiasm, passion and clear vision, whether that’s in a work setting, in the community or an organization.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author, historian and political scientist, presidential biographer, and authority on leadership studies. James MacGregor Burns, first used the term transformational leadership in 1978 to describe a process in which “leaders and followers help each other to advance to a higher level of morale and motivation.”

This concept of transformational leadership doesn’t simply seek to change the status quo, but to inspire creativity among the group members. Such leaders give clear expectations and goals and provide encouragement and support to followers as well as acting as a role model.

How to become a transformational leader?

There are many things you can do to be a transformational leader to the people around you. Kouzes & Posner’s model offers 5 characteristics with examples built on research.

Become the authentic person you want to be. Be humble. True transformational leaders don’t have to crow about their latest accomplishments from the highest roof top. They simply do what they believe in to the best of their abilities. If someone notices, that’s nice, but they are happy with their own actions with or without praise.

Contribute to and advocate others. Transformational leaders are attuned and connected to the people around them. They look for ways to encourage them to be the best they can be, whether that’s volunteering with a local group or mentoring young employees.

Who are the transformational leaders in your life and why?


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