Imagine the possibilities for yourself and your business if every leader within your organization embodied the characteristics of a transformational leader. In order to achieve, or get close to realizing his or her leadership potential, it is important to understand the meaning of transformational leadership, why it matters and where the gaps exist.
The term “transformational leadership” continues to evolve. While it is essential for leaders to communicate the vision and long-term goals regarding the future of their organizations, the digital age and shifting composition of the workforce necessitates radical change leadership. The latest research report entitled “The New Leadership Playbook for the Digital Age” (MIT Sloan Management Review) provides a fascinating assessment of the current state of leadership as well as essential behaviours that leaders need to adopt in order to be successful in the future. Key findings reveal that only 12% of leaders “have the right mindset to embrace the changes we need to make to thrive in the digital economy.” The authors Douglas A. Ready, Carol Cohen, David Kiron, and Benjamin Pring describe current leadership realities as follows: “Today’s trailblazing leaders increasingly recognize that in order to credibly transform their organizations, they must credibly transform themselves and their teams.” They identify “enduring and emerging” behavioural traits of leaders that are endearing to the new workforce, as well as those that “erode” relationships and organizational culture. The latter include rigid, top-down approaches that are still prevalent, impeding talent development at all levels. Leaders who choose to hone their capacity to risk employing new behaviours and eliminate practices that impede the path to progress are poised to transcend the challenges of navigating the future…for themselves and their organizations.
Leaders who are transformational possess the capacity to truthfully assess their attitudes and behaviours. They recognize the need to transform their thinking and subsequently, their actions. In addition, the transformational leaders who are most effective in today’s business climate understand several key imperatives. First, they are able to embrace new realities pertaining to the workforce and they are prepared to communicate differently with their teams. When leaders adapt a more open-minded approach regarding opportunities to learn and implement ideas from their digitally savvy employees at any level, they are poised to build greater trust. In the process of transforming themselves, they are able to transform their organizations to be future-ready. Transformational leaders recognize that they cannot underutilize the skillset of their workforce who expect to be heard, validated and understood. Secondly, leaders who are transformational in their approach are able to engage all team members regardless of age or background. They possess a welcoming, collaborative style, recognizing that their own success and reputation is dependant upon the manner in which they relate to their teams.
Transformational leaders do not wield “position power”. They recognize the fact that employees expect greater parity and have a strong desire to contribute and collaborate with leadership. As a leader, it is important to assess your willingness to be more transparent, authentic humble and inclusive. It will become even more challenging to achieve “buy-in” and realize your vision in the absence of honing these behaviours.
It is the transformational leader who internalizes these ideas and is ready to consistently apply them for future success.
Michelle Ray (Twitter) is one of the best international leadership keynote speakers in Vancouver. She helps you discover your potential through presentations, coaching and consulting. With over 20 years of experience Michelle has worked with hundreds of companies around the world. She is taking bookings for speaking engagements and can be contacted at MichelleRay.com