The Transformational Leader
“We can’t transform the culture of our company by ourselves, but we must begin the transformation within ourselves. Cultural transformation always begins within individuals.” ~ Mack Story
The need for culture transformation can be driven by one or more key factors: organizational growth, toxic organizational culture, poor top-level leadership, industry or technology changes, negativity, poor management at levels, or even a lack of succession planning for an aging workforce. Regardless of the cause, the effect is disastrous if the response isn’t sufficient to meet the challenge.
In order to change and transform the culture, we must transform the individuals who make up the culture. Anytime we are trying to create positive change, we find ourselves challenged to influence others to accept, buy-in, and get on board with, the change and transformation.
In an uncertain world, one thing is certain: leading positive transformation is challenging.
Transformation is a change in form, appearance, or character. Transformational Leadership is being able to influence others to change their values, character, and therefore their behavior. This can create positive change and culture transformation while also leading to organizational success far beyond any strategic goal.
Few people have a desire to truly become a Transformational Leader, and not all of those with a desire actually make it. High impact leadership requires sacrifice, character development, time, effort, energy, and putting others ahead of yourself. Transformational Leadership isn’t about the title you have or the position you hold. It’s not about climbing to the top alone.
Transformational Leadership is about reaching the summit of the mountain. Then, intentionally going back down to find others who need help climbing to the top. Transformational Leaders sacrifice personally in order to become significant in the lives of others.
The challenges will be great, and the obstacles will be endless. However, the reward is priceless.
Transformational Leadership is about making a difference in the lives of others. It’s about fulfilling your purpose and helping someone else unleash their potential. Transformational Leadership is about refusing to accept good enough and going for great. As Jim Collins, Author of Good to Great said, “Good is the enemy of great. And, that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great.”
Regardless of whether you are a Business Owner, CEO, Director, Manager, Supervisor, HR professional, Consultant, Trainer, or Talent Development Specialist, you have the opportunity to move beyond simply managing the tasks of your daily job and influencing others in a way that allows you to become a Transformational Leader. You have the opportunity to move from good to great personally, and professionally, when you accept the responsibility of becoming a Transformational Leader.
There are two requirements:
- Experience Personal Transformation
- Develop a High Level of Positive Influence
You must have undergone transformation yourself before you can lead others through it. Leadership isn’t about being a travel agent directing people to a place you may have never been. It’s about being a tour guide as you take them someplace you’ve already been. You cannot give someone something you don’t have. You can’t take them to the top of the mountain if you don’t know the way.
High Level Positive Influence
You must be able to influence others, relative to improving their character by changing their values, in a transformational and positive way. Influence is the essence of leadership and positive influence is the key to transformational leadership. Because, we are asking someone to follow us somewhere they have never been. Quite possibly, they don’t believe in themselves as much as we believe in their potential. We must be able to motivate them to want to change. And then, sustain that motivation until they become inspired enough to continue the journey without as much, or any, support. If it sounds hard and time consuming, it is.
We cannot force someone to change their values. But, we can influence them to choose to do so.
OUR ability to coach and develop others in the area of required job competencies will determine if we become a competent “manager” of others. However, OUR ability to coach, develop, and mentor others in the area of personal growth and character development will determine if we become a “Transformational Leader” of others. Someone who, regardless of our formal level of authority, can take our organization from “good to great” in an effort to move ourselves, our team, and our organization to the next level and beyond.