A transformational leader is someone who inspires others to take action in service of a vision, and helps them step into greater versions of themselves in the process.* In order to be a transformational leader, then, we must be able to influence and enroll people in our vision, AND call people towards higher levels of their own personal development and leadership.
In this article (and the video, above, that goes along with it), I share 9 practices – gleaned from years of working with many leaders, as well as from my own learning and development – to be a more influential, enrolling and empowering transformational leader.
The first practice is mastering your emotional state. Science has shown that in any given moment, our heart is not just pumping blood, it’s actually sending electromagnetic waves, full of information, out into the world; and the information encoded in those waves is our emotional state. Put another way: we are constantly projecting our emotions outward, and people can FEEL them, even if they’re not consciously AWARE of it.
The second practice of transformational leadership is standing in our authority. People want to be led by someone who knows what they're talking about and who knows what they're doing. Showing up to a situation in your power, standing strong, with confidence, goes a long way toward engendering trust.
The third practice is building rapport with others, which means listening deeply, caring, and meeting people “where they're at” to establish connection, and then from there, leading towards a shared vision. Imagine having a meeting where you want to influence and excite people about an idea, and everybody in the room is depressed, sad and struggling. But you – excited by your vision – show up all “rah-rah” high energy, motivational-style… you’ll likely alienate people and struggle to lead them. When we build rapport, we connect to the emotional state of the group and then from that place we can introduce new ideas and lead people to a higher state.
The fourth element is alignment. Alignment is about congruence and authenticity and being true to yourself and your expression in the world. A truly transformational leader is not pretending to be somebody they're not. They're not acting one way “outside,” and then a completely different way behind closed doors. A transformational leader is authentic and transparent, even vulnerable…
The fifth element is vulnerability. Being a transformational leader doesn't mean being perfect, or always having the answers. People connect more to those who share their challenges – and then model how to overcome them.
Having a vision (and expressing it in a compelling way) is a sixth element of being a transformational leader. So whereas an “old-school” authoritarian-style leader might say: “Hey, I'm the boss, you have to do what I say,” a transformational leader would say: “Hey check out this amazing vision I have…. Want to join me?” And the answer might well be: “Hell yes! How can I be a part of that NOW?” There's a LOT more energy there.
(PS – The transformational leader also knows that some people are going to get it – and others won’t. The ones who don’t will fall away and the ones who do are going to be so jazzed and so energized and so excited to be part of this vision that they'll step in and pick up the slack!)
The seventh component transformational leadership is demonstrating commitment, or better yet, DEVOTION. It's congruently modeling the behaviors that align with the message and mission. A truly transformational leader embodies the message they deliver, AKA: they “walk the talk.”
A transformational leader also understands the importance of a call to action, and a PLAN. That’s the eighth element – the DOING part. The transformational leader has a plan that people can get involved in and get behind.
Finally, the ninth – and sometimes most difficult – component of transformational leadership is “speaking the unspoken,” even when it’s unpopular or dangerous. The courageous, outspoken leader holds high standards, and holds others to account to those standards, and is unwilling to turn a blind eye when things are not right.
I hope this reflection is beneficial to you. I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.
And if you’re interested in working with me, schedule a call here: www.SuperstarDiscoveryCall.com.