How to Be a Transformational Leader
Whatever your preferred leadership style, you can inspire your people to achieve organisational goals as well as their own personal potential through transformational leadership. This involves:
- Creating an inspiring vision of the future.
- Motivating people to buy into and deliver this vision.
- Empowering people to use their skills and strengths.
- Managing delivery of the vision, sometimes with a ‘hands-off’ approach.
- Building strong, trusting relationships with your team.
Create an Inspiring Vision
People need a compelling reason to follow you as a leader, so it’s important to create and communicate an inspiring vision of the future. Your vision sets out organisational and team objectives, the impact this will have on your team, customers. Describe in detail how this will look and feel. If you’re developing a vision for your team, it may help to begin with the organisational mission and vision, and explore the ways in which your team will contribute to it, either through their role in the business or through a specific project.
Motivate People to Buy Into and Deliver the Vision
Explore the bigger picture for your vision. How will this impact the world, your customers and stakeholders, and the growth of the business? How does this vision fit with the organisational values and the individual values of the team members? It may be useful to carry out some values exercises first, to clarify core values for individuals and the team. Motivate people by showing them how they are contributing to this bigger picture, and by aligning your team and organisational goals to personal values.
Get to know your team well and understand their personal motivators. Check in regularly to ensure that people are still on board with the vision and that this is aligned with personal goals and values.
Empower People to Use Their Skills and Strengths
Develop a clear strategy for delivery of the vision, and involve your team in the development of this strategy as much as possible. Create clear individual and team objectives from the start, and get confirmation from your people that they are confident in delivering those objectives, and that they have a way of measuring progress along the way. Give people a voice and allow them to contribute to the plan. Be open to feedback and the possibility that people may see something you have overlooked, as they will be viewing the strategy from their own unique perspective. Plan for any potential issues as much as possible before you start. Completing a SWOT Analysis will give you an idea of potential problems. Be available to support when needed, and check in at agreed stages of a project to ensure things are on track.
Manage Delivery of the Vision
Manage, don’t micromanage. Trust people to deliver the objectives that you set with them, and allow them to create and problem-solve on their own or in their team. Working with SMART Objectives is a good way to measure progress and to set short-term goals so people are motivated by quick wins.
Spend time with your people, be available to answer questions and to hear feedback and progress reports. Do this often enough that it becomes the norm, so people don’t feel that you are checking up on them or that something is going on, but also not too much so that you’re still giving people space to create ideas or solve problems without your input.
Build Strong, Trusting Relationships With Your People
Develop the habit of focusing on your people, and work with them to help them to achieve their goals. Transformational leadership relies upon building relationships, earning trust, and helping your people grow as individuals. Get to know people individually, prioritise their wellbeing and success, and make open communication, engagement, and relationship building a part of your team development strategy.
Finally, spend more time listening than you do talking. Hear what people have to say and work with them to ensure everyone feels motivated, inspired and fulfilled, including you.
Ruth Randall is a Life and Leadership Coach, and Team Development Specialist. Ruth works with teams to help them to build trust, develop strong working relationships, manage stress, and increase productivity and job satisfaction. She also coaches individual clients who want to make changes in their lives, careers and relationships.