We all desire to have the best team in the industry, carrying out the most efficient processes to generate the greatest product. Unfortunately, without the right leaders in place, this is nearly impossible. Instead, companies are stuck continuing onward with archaic or even broken processes that are already in place, hoping that no internal or external issues arise that will mess things up. Furthermore, they can have a culture that is accidental or even artificial, thus when issues between people arise, resolutions can cause severe damage to relationships and interactions.
Trying to just manage through or even ignore these issues is almost like hoping Monday won’t come around every week.
Think about the leaders that you’ve known in your life that have made an impression on you. Were they inspiring or were they just bossy? Did they demand excellence but not provide clear communication on what their standards for excellence were? The common approach is managerial and transactional: “get the job done…because I say so.” The other exudes the essence of a great leader – it is transformational.
Transformational leaders transform businesses no matter their place on the organizational chart. They are able to encourage, support, align, and navigate their team – ensuring that when change happens the company can actually execute the processes needed to be successful. They can do this because they understand what is at the core of being a transformational leader: WHO they are as a person is irreducibly tied to WHAT they do as a leader.
What is a Transformational Leader?
Transformational leaders choose to live with an awareness of what is happening in their head and their heart. They believe business is more than transactional. Because it’s centered around people and relationships, transformational leadership calls forth the whole person.
People can instantly sniff inauthenticity and fake bravado. People want a leader they can trust and who cares about them as people. Therefore, it is to a leader’s peril to disconnect WHO they are from WHAT they do.
Transformational leaders understand that change happens from the inside-out. They practice self-awareness and seek a deeper understanding of their own integrity, ethics, purpose, values, emotions, strengths, weaknesses, and drives. More than that, they practice self-management. They learn how to bring their best self to the world which allows them to authentically show up.
To be clear, self-management is not easy. It is unending and often complex, thus making it easy to spend little time and effort in self-management. The default is to focus our attention on managing others vs managing ourselves. Self-management is a life-long process of intentional effort – an effort that will pay off almost immediately. Evidence of this effort will show itself within a group of transformational leadership traits.
Traits Needed in a Transformational Leader
Supportive & Encouraging
A transformational leader knows the difference between driving a team and bugging a team. Without looking over their shoulders, a leader should be able to check in on their team’s progress in a way that both motivates and supports. The best leaders are the ones that built rapport and respect with their team, encouraging them to reach their highest potential.
Visionary & Innovative
Yes, transformational leaders should have a vision for the company and be creative with problem-solving, but also, they should be visionary in seeing and recognizing a good idea, even if it’s not their own. Ideas can come from the newest or youngest employee, and they can sometimes stem from ideas that, on the surface, seem terrible. They humbly see the potential in those ideas and bring them to fruition.
Communicative & Transparent
Transformational leaders have to be able to communicate and communicate well. Your team will never be able to follow you if you don’t clearly outline your goals, expectations, and standards. When those are things are properly conveyed then the team and the rest of the business be able to address those goals and any concerns they have. Having easy and open communication with your leader is one of the most important things for a business and its culture.
Fearless & Inspiring
Transformational leaders are not afraid of change; in fact, they embrace it. They inspire others to go think of new ideas and processes, all for the betterment of the company. To be a great leader, you can’t be scared to do something different for the hope of something better.
To be clear, leaders and managers are two different things. (If you want to know the difference, learn more about it here.) But transformational leaders still need to have good managerial skills. They need to be organized and attentive, while understanding the systems and structures. After all, it takes a manager mind-set to implement new processes in your team.
If you’re not sure how to actively cultivate these traits within your leadership team, this is where a good business consultant comes in handy.
At Nexecute, we are willing to do just that. In fact, we go above and beyond. We’re more than just business consultants. We become a part of your business, and use specific processes of our own to help you reach your potential. In fact, The Leadership Demonstrator is perfect for developing strong, transformational leaders.
Stay tuned for the next blog post for the third reason in Why You Need Trusted Business Consultants where we discuss the importance of Team Alignment.