Leadership is scary and hard. But leading your team to achieve big, daring goals is one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do—if you do it well. And that starts with deciding to level up in how you lead. Just like there’s no magic pill for weight loss or better finances, there’s no magic pill to being a leadership expert. You just put one courageous foot in front of the other, day in and day out, getting better and stronger as you go. And using the transformational leadership style will help you shift your mindset to focusing on your team’s ability (not just yours) to get those big, daring wins.
You may be thinking that transformational leadership sounds like corporate mumbo jumbo. However, it’s anything but that. Imagine drama and bureaucracy in your business decreasing so productivity, innovation and creativity can take center stage. Imagine a team of go-getters who are motivated to win every day and enjoy going to work—that’s the culture transformational leadership can create for your business. As you inspire your team to think and work beyond themselves for the greater good, you are on your way to becoming a bona fide transformational leader. Is this really possible? Absolutely.
Define Transformational Leadership
In the words of the Transformer Optimus Prime, “Autobots, transform and roll out!” If only transformation was that simple for us non-autobots, right? But it’s possible to spur on change—and it starts with your leadership.
The idea of a style of leadership that transforms team members, businesses and the world was first introduced in the 1970s by sociologist J.V. Downton. The theory caught fire later that decade when James MacGregor Burns, a leadership expert and historian, wrote Leadership. In this book, James describes transformational leadership as a style where “leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality.” This style is based on a leader who has built trust and respect with their team—and because of that, they can influence their team to work harder and think smarter to achieve a common goal.
James put a spotlight on a leadership style that increases loyalty, commitment and the ability to accomplish way more than the company and team members thought they could. So, what does a transformational leader look like?