Making the most of transformational leadership in your workplace
Leadership styles come in many forms, including those which are strategic and others which are autocratic. As a result, it can be difficult to know which style will be best to adopt in your workplace. Here, global creative change agency Impact explains why you should consider yet another form of leadership for your business — transformational leadership:
Defining transformational leadership
James McGregor Burns coined the term transformational leadership when writing his 1978 book “Leadership.” He defined the phrase as a process where “leaders and their followers raise one another to higher levels of morality and motivation”.
As a result, the idea of this form of leadership is to inspire others — for example, your employees — to be the best they can. Successful transformational leadership can make the organisation and its workforce adaptive to change and hyperaware of the industry that they’re operating in.
To get an idea of transformational leadership in action, look no further than Satya Nadella — a person who joined Microsoft in 1992 and became their CEO in 2014. He recognised the potential interest in cloud technology and made it the company’s primary strategy — a success that changed the face of the company. Another example is Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe Systems — he was able to create a vision for digital marketing services and pushed the business in that direction.
The benefits of transformational leadership
Workforces must be adaptive to change when bringing a transformational leader into their workplace. With rising globalisation, constant innovations in technology and quick changing business environments, having a flexible service and reactive employees is important for survival.
Support and recognition is provided regularly with transformational leadership, not to mention the fact that it encourages individuals to look beyond their own interests. This leads them to take genuine interest in progressing the business and helping it succeed. They often look out for potential opportunities that the business would benefit from and make these suggestions to their leader. All of these things keep your business ahead of competition and in a state of constant innovation.
Subordinates should also be inspired by an effective transformational leader, especially one who truly values the comments they make and the opinions they have. This makes them feel more valued and more likely to stay within the company to see the changes that lie ahead. High staff retention is beneficial to a business as the recruitment and training process can be costly and time inefficient.
Bringing transformational leadership into your workplace
Now that you know more about transformational leadership and its many benefits, a question that you will now surely have on your mind is how to actually bring it into your workplace? It all starts with the actions and attitudes of the leader.
As such, work to build genuine relationships across your workforce in the early stages of the process. This can be achieved by organising regular 1-to-1 sessions to monitor the employees progress in the company, the areas that they can improve and hearing their ideas about the business. Building these relationships are important as it will lead to the employee trusting the leader, their vision and any changes in the business that are proposed. The personal sessions also give the leader a chance to explain what’s going on in the business and how the workforce contributes to business goals.
Transformational leaders must also be in good stead to successfully deliver a vision that they have for a workforce or an overall business, as opposed to just announcing that vision as many other leaders tend to do. This takes strong people management skills, experience in the field and the ability to organise the workforce to work towards the vision. It also takes motivational skills — employees must be convinced that the idea will be successful and they must be committed to its delivery.
On top of this advice, employees should be getting encouraged by a transformational leader to put their work into context. This way, they can get a better idea of how much impact their job is having on a workplace, the organisation that they are employed at and the industry that they are a part of. This can be done by sending employees to conferences and asking them to mix with others in the industry. This reminds people of the contextual factors that are occurring outside of the company and adapt their work accordingly.