What It Means to be Transformational Leaders
What type of leader do you wish to be? I want to be a leader who will make an enduring impact on the circles I am leading—I want to transform them.
Transformational leadership. It has a ring to it, doesn’t it? But beyond the big word, I hope we can understand its meaning to help us clarify what we need to become as leaders.
In the academic world of psychology, the term transformational leadership was first introduced by James Burns. He said that transformational leadership is when “leaders and followers make each other advance to a higher level of moral motivation.” Later researcher Bernard Bass built upon that idea. He said that it has four components: Intellectual Stimulation, Individualized Consideration, Inspirational Motivation, and Idealized Influence.
At the risk of committing academic heresy, I want to redefine this term for the rest of us non-psychologists.
And they transform it…
- Dramatically, not modestly.
- Aggressively, not timidly.
- Lovingly, not forcibly.
- Sacrificially, not selfishly.
- Persistently, not hesitantly.
- By inspiring, not by threatening.
- By modeling integrity and building trust.
- By forming relationships and promoting growth.
- By fostering an inspiring shared vision and a culture of togetherness.
And so my leader friend, I urge and challenge you today to transform your world. Would you aim to become a transformational leader?
This is what we need to transform.
That is where all transformation starts. You and me. Start within and stay there. Never leave. That’s where healing is. That’s where hope lies. You, working on you, and asking God to work on you. Renew your mind, daily. Challenge your perspective, daily. Be vulnerable, daily. Read. Write. Speak. Challenge yourself. Fly. Sore. Fight. Do anything you can, anytime you can, with anyone you can to make yourself bigger and deeper, braver and stronger, kinder and gentler. Friend, you cannot transform anything or anyone else unless you first are transformed.
Transform Your Family
If you are a parent, but even if you are a child, you must take the trajectory of your family’s journey seriously. Take responsibility for it. And I know you do. Specifically, what I am asking you to do is to say, “How can I impact the story of my family? And how can I make sure each chapter written in this story is better than the last?” I am not asking you to be a good parent, or to be a good daughter or son. I am asking you to aim to transform your family. And so it has to start by asking ourselves, “Transform it from where to where?” That’s for you to find out. If you say, we are at a perfect place, then I congratulate you. If not, go to work. Have courage. Develop a vision. Start.
Transform Your Team
How is the climate of your team? Is the morale high? Is the focus sharp? Is the spirit lifted? Is the culture positive? Is the cooperation healthy? Is the communication excellent? Are people growing? Is production maintained? Is effectiveness maximized? If not, your mission (if you wish to accept it), is to transform your team. You can do it.
Transform Your Organization
Don’t be a leader that maintains the status quo. Take us somewhere worthwhile. Your people are yearning for a great journey. Regardless of your position you can make an impact. However, if you are one of the top people in your organization, you must transform it. If you cannot, then step aside. Let someone else try. But I think you can, if you make it your goal to be transformational.
Transform Your Community
Whether it is your neighborhood, city, state, or country, if you are at a point where you can, I urge to impact your community and aim to transform it. We all need you. As I watch the world news with the wars and conflicts, I cannot help but see a world filled with leaders who are barely hanging on to dear life. I don’t see them being proactive, challenging the status quo, challenging their populace, and refusing to accept anything but excellence in governess and leadership. While many lead and transform, so many others are afraid to dare to dream, much less act and transform.
Be a force of transformation, so the world becomes a better place because of your impact. Let not your friends be the same, let not your coworkers be the same, neither let your entire world remain the same. Rather let them be forever changed because you decided to spend your life…
Growing. Challenging. Guiding. Venturing. Urging. Dreaming. Daring.
For Further Reading: