Transformational Leadership: What It Is and How You Can Put It into Action

How do you and your managers lead their staff? There is a host of leadership styles that we can adopt in the workplace. However, some work far better than others.

So, how do you know which is the best for your organisation? Many employers and supervisors are getting on board with a form of leadership called ‘transformational leadership’, and here, we discuss exactly what this is and how you can implement it.

A definition of transformational leadership

This type of leadership is essentially designed to encourage people to ‘be the best’. Successful transformational leadership has the capability of masking an organisation and its workforce adaptive to change and aware of their industry, which can boost morale and productivity. Introduced by James McGregor Burns in the 1978 book: “Leadership“, transformational leadership is when “leaders and their followers raise one another to higher levels of morality and motivation”.

But who are transformational leaders and are they successful? The answer is yes. Take Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe Systems, who created a vision for digital marketing services and drove the business towards success. Another example is Satya Nadella, who joined Microsoft in 1992 before becoming CEO in 2014. He recognised the potential interest in cloud technology and made it the company’s primary strategy — a success that changed the face of the company.

Are there many advantages of transformational leadership?

Adaptability is key in business, and that is what this form of leadership is designed to promote. With rising globalisation, constant innovations in technology and quick changing business environments, having a flexible service and reactive employees is important for survival.

Transformational leadership is a supportive initiative that inspires people to look at the collective interest, rather than personal benefit. This leads them to take pride in progressing the business and helping it succeed. They often look out for potential opportunities that the business would benefit from and make these suggestions to their leader. All of these things keep your business ahead of competition and in a state of constant innovation.

If you’re a transformational leader, you value the people you’re leading and listen to what they have to say. Doing this makes people feel appreciated and more likely to stay in a company to see the changes that lie ahead. High staff retention is beneficial to a business as the recruitment and training process can be costly and time inefficient.

Putting transformational leadership into action

It’s simple to implement this type of leadership — it all starts with the actions and attitudes of the leader.

Begin by creating bonds and relationships. This can be achieved by organising regular one-to-one sessions to monitor the employees progress in the company, the areas that they can improve and hearing their ideas about the business. Building these relationships are important as it will lead to the employee trusting the leader, their vision and any changes in the business that are proposed. The personal sessions also give the leader a chance to explain what’s going on in the business and how the workforce contributes to business goals.

Delivering a vision for the future and inspiring people to get on board isn’t always simple, but this is what transformational leadership is all about. This takes strong people management skills, experience in the field and the ability to organise the workforce to work towards the vision. It also takes motivational skills — employees must be convinced that the idea will be successful and they must be committed to its delivery.

Help your staff see the effect they have on the company so that they can take pride in their work and feel like a valuable cog in the wheel. This can be done by sending employees to conferences and asking them to mix with others in the industry. Networking events remind people of the contextual factors that are occurring outside of the company, which can help them adapt their work accordingly.

Get on board with transformational leadership today.


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