With every new year comes the promise and perspective of a fresh start, in many areas of our lives. You probably have a list going of the resolutions you aim to achieve in 2016, both personally and professionally. If you’re in a leadership role or working to get into one, then there has never been a better time for a fresh approach.
Transformational leadership is a term that was coined many decades ago by MacGregor Burns and he described it as a process in which “leaders and followers help each other to advance to a higher level of morale and motivation.” In other words, transformational leadership is an approach to leading in which the leaders build up themselves and others around them simultaneously, to create a seamless cycle of leaders.
The best leaders are those who can recognize, develop, and nurture the inherent skills of their employees, which helps boost overall morale and company culture. If you are aiming to adapt a more transformational leadership style, then you must personify the following qualities of a transformative leader.
- Be mindful. A transformational leader must be able to recognize and appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of not only their employees but of themselves. A jack of all trades is an expert in nothing, which is why weaknesses are just as important to identify as strengths. This helps you build a cohesive team that can ebb and flow seamlessly.
- Embrace creativity. Transformative leaders must be able to embrace risk and foster creativity and innovation. Some ideas just won’t work, but you’ll never know until you try. Remember to embrace the creativity in yourself and your team, and continuously seek new ways to switch things up and think outside of the box.
- Practice consistency. This is key no matter what style of leader you are. You must be consistent with everything, down to how you recognize achievements of your employees. Practicing consistency makes your employees feel more secure in their role and will provide them with the comfort they need to excel.
- Enforce open communication. Your team has to feel comfortable to voice ideas, concerns, or questions openly. Maintain an air of open communication that encourages your team to speak up rather than bottle up.
- Be a role model. Any good leader must practice what they preach. If you expect your employees to show up on time for work and meetings, then you must be 15 minutes early. If you want your employees to be more creative, find ways to get the juices flowing and lead the conversation. Your employees will look to you for how they should conduct themselves in their role. Make sure you are an inspiration, not a hindrance.
Make 2016 the year in which you freshen up your leadership style to earn and keep your employees’ trust and respect, increase the effectiveness of your department, and help your organization to succeed.
Sources: Bass, B. M. (1990). From transactional to transformational leadership: Learning to share the vision. Organizational Dynamics, (Winter): 19-31.