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Friday, February 28, 2014

Ingredients of a Transformational Leader-What can you do?

Leadership is one of the frequently talked about topic in scholarly and professional literature and yet is the most confused topic. From the great man theories promoted Dowd (1936) emphasizing different degrees of intelligence, energy, and moral force in leadership and contingency theory focusing on task or relationship orientation in effective leadership (Fiedler, 1967) evolved the integrative people-value based theories of transformational leadership evolving from theory and servant leadership evolving from practice have found their common place in many organizations.

Yet, the leadership component is evaluated on management that focuses on tactical execution. Some of the reactive nature of business units makes executive management evaluate if these functional leaders are proactive and transformational. Questions evolve on proactive processes put in place to control chaos where efficiency of management is confused with leadership of effectiveness. In a dynamic demanding organizational environment, what are some of the ways for transformational thinking?

Burns (1978) began with the idea of transformational leadership that Bass (1990) expanded. Additionally, readers are directed Scholar-Practitioners like Peter Drucker and John Kotter for leadership and management. But, here I would like to present a few questions and tips that will map to the four “I”s of Transformational Leadership so that one can walk away with actionable steps. Transformational leadership exhibit idealistic influence by inspiring and motivating the team, giving individual consideration differentiating from group and team, and intellectually stimulating them to excel themselves. How could this be done? 

Given below are five questions that people can ask them to
1      How do I facilitate getting the job done always?
2       Do you feel like you have a role or a job?
3.       What have you done to make a member exceed their abilities and grow their skills?
4.       What makes others reach out to you?
5.       What do you know of the individual’s career goals?

Transformational Leadership Category
Some Thoughts – Actionable steps
Ideal Influence
1. Walk the talk and avoid lip service. Let the results speak to your efforts.
2. Build trust for the team by “being there” for them and modifying people’s behavior to embrace change
3. Proactively implement new ways to organizational culture
Inspirational Motivation

1. Learn what motivates people – extrinsic and intrinsic needs.
2. Learn from failure so that future strategies can avoid risk and improve quality
3. Maximize learning from success so that these are not accidental outcomes but repeatable outcomes
4. Ask how you contribute to the organizational vision and empower them for change.
Individual Considerations

1. Give work assignments to match one’s skills but challenge you to grow them by pushing them out of comfort zone. Be a servant leader – they may not how it benefits them always.
2. Consciously build a career plan. You owe it to your team even in a balanced matrix organization by providing recommendations.
Intellectual Stimulation

1. Foster Creativity & Innovation - If the wheel is not broken, then, you haven't looked hard enough.
2. If people agree too often with you, ask yourself if you are surrounded by "yes" men.

Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”  To me success is a meeting point between preparation and opportunity. We need to prepare ourselves to lead before an opportunity presents itself. Understanding one’s own drive and emotions is instrumental to understand the others, which is a perquisite for the transformational leadership that is practiced every day with effective habits on us first before they can be practiced on others.

Are there any other actionable steps or questions that can make this list more comprehensive for practice?