Transformational Leadership, Its Four Elements, And Characteristics
What is Transformational Leadership?
Transformational leadership is the leadership style where the leaders inspire, motivate employees to build a creative work culture and that is ready to respond to any uncertainty with innovation and courage. Transformational leaders believe in agility and transform their work processes from time to time to grow and shape their future.
In today's time, we witness change and unpredictability constantly, from digital transformation or changing trends in the global market. This has brought massive challenges for leaders to adapt to a leadership style that can help them sustain.
Transformational leaders are visionary and agile. They have a knack for connecting the dots and understand the needs and uncertainty of the future.
Let’s understand from a real-life example. Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, was a transformational leader in the truest sense. He was creative, passionate, and visionary. He encouraged his colleagues to realize the need for innovation, embraced long-term and broad views to achieve the company's objectives. He was a visionary who always inspired his followers, stakeholders, and clients with a clear vision to create something different from others, creative and trend-setter.
The Four Elements of Transformational Leadership
Transformational leaders don't start by denying the world around them. Instead, they describe a future they'd like to create instead. ~Seth Godin
To be a better transformational leadership, one must understand the four elements that drive this leadership style. These four elements are idealized influence, individualized consideration, intellectual stimulation, and inspirational motivation.
1. Idealized Influence
Idealized influence breeds leadership behavior that helps followers to view them as role models. Leaders are idealized when they are considerate and keep the needs of others over their personal interests. They develop a shared vision with their team members, focus on team-building, set the right moral conducts and ethical behaviors. They influence the team members by imbibing values and strong work ethics and understanding the moral consequences of their decisions.
Individualized consideration is understanding the employees’ needs, being considerate of their actions, and guiding them by listening attentively. Leaders can do it by being more compassionate towards their employees and building strong interpersonal relationships with them. They keep the employees’ overall well-being in mind and mentor them in their professional development and personal development.
3. Intellectual Stimulation
Intellectual stimulation in this leadership style means encouraging innovation and creativity as well as creative thinking and problem-solving. Transformational leaders believe in sharing all the information with the employees to bring transparency and open communication to generate more ideas and build analytical thinking. This helps the organization to get more perspectives while making a decision or solve problems.
Transformational leaders inspire and motivate their employees through their excellent communication skills, honesty, and integrity. They lead by example and focus on the other person and the task at hand. They are confident and optimistic about the future and talk enthusiastically with their employees. They connect with everyone emotionally and share their vision confidently.
The Most Important Characteristics of a Transformational leader
1. Interpersonal Skills
Transformational leaders have strong interpersonal skills. They are strong communicators and show the right attitude while conversing with people. They listen to people genuinely and give useful feedback. They ask relevant questions and also provide the necessary solutions. You would often find them eccentric and draw energy from their personality. They are non-judgemental and mindful of the environment, which reflects in their behavior and actions.
2. Creative and Innovative
One of the most vital traits of transformational leaders is their ability to create and think outside the box. They always look out for creative solutions and innovative ideas. They build an environment that is inclusive and positive. For transformational leaders, human resource is an asset and a collective source of creativity that helps everyone bring innovation and transformation. They believe in a culture that gives everyone room to discuss ideas and share their perspectives.
Transformational leaders are agile and quick thinkers. They adapt to the changing scenarios in no time and take immediate actions to bring stability. They have a knack for envisioning the uncertain future and experiment accordingly to bring sustainable change. The way one responds in crisis a lot about them. Not many can withstand the instability and unpredictability that the business world brings. Transformational leaders thrive in adverse situations and create new opportunities by being positive and enabling the right strategies.
Curiosity is one trait that is so crucial for any leader. Curiosity does not always mean an intelligent mind but an outlet to immense possibilities. Great leaders are curious, so they hire brilliant minds who could fulfill the needs and bring practical solutions to the given problems. They are always in search of better opportunities and keep tabs on the current trends to move forward.
5. Risk Takers
The road to transformation has many bumps and uncertainties, so it becomes critical to take the leap of faith. Not every great idea comes to fruition. There are immense hardships all along the way. Great leaders are those who are ready to take a chance and believe in their decisions. They understand that calculated risks are necessary and integral part of the business. All the significant innovations that we see around is there since someone believed in their ideas and took the necessary risks by implementing them in the first place.
Whether you are a practicing leader or aspire to be one in this digital world, it is wiser to add the transformational leadership approach to your repertoire. Looking out for your team and motivating them to adapt to change and stay focused is critical in today's day and age.