A good leader manages a team’s efforts toward reaching company goals. A transformational leader takes it a step further by inspiring members to maximize their potential in reaching those goals.
But what does transformational leadership actually look like in the workplace and beyond? What are its benefits? How can you become one? Read on below to find out.
What makes a transformational leader?
A transformational leader liaises between a company’s mission and an employee’s investment. Therefore, they have a thorough understanding of the company’s goals and build genuine relationships with their teammates in order to achieve exemplary results. Some ways they may do this include:
- Creating a safe space for employees to evaluate their glows and grows.
- Guiding and mediating a team's efforts toward reaching a common goal.
- Clearly illustrating the bigger picture for the team.
- Incentivizing and rewarding employees.
- Anticipating challenges ahead of time.
- Being intellectually prepared for every meeting.
- Revising their approach to reach a goal based on feedback from their team.
By investing in the professional growth of their employees and their own work ethic, transformational leaders are able to maximize the contributions of each member on their team. Proactive leadership to this extent could make even the most impossible of goals attainable.
Benefits of transformational leadership
There are many types of leaders and different jobs may benefit from particular ones. If you’re looking to lead transformationally, you might be pleased with some of the benefits that could follow:
1. Symbiotic manager-to-employee relationships
By helping craft a vision of who they want to be, a transformational leader can present employees with what they need to do in order to get there. In this way, transformational leaders gain an invaluable opportunity to evolve employees into emotionally intelligent and self-driven individuals. On the other hand, regular check-ins with an employee can present an opportunity for leaders to use what they learn to revise their management approach.
2. Increased investment in the company
Because of their intention to inspire, transformational leaders have the ability to re-energize employees who may have lost touch with the company mission. They might do this by iterating the exigence of the team’s goals as they relate to the bigger picture. They may also invite input from the team in creating solid plans that encourage smart-working over hard-working.
3. Maximized team collaboration
Employees want to be seen, heard and understood. When transformational leaders cultivate a culture that prioritizes speaking, listening and response, employees feel more inclined to engage with one another. This active dialogue enlivens the team, allowing its members to reach goals more willingly and efficiently.
Examples of transformational leaders
Transformational leadership is not restricted to management in a professional workplace setting. These bold leaders can be found in contexts all around you.
To give you a better idea, we’ve gathered three stellar examples below:
Emma González - Activist and advocate for gun control
In response to a school shooting she survived in February 2018, González co-founded the advocacy group, Never Again, to spread awareness around gun violence. She has since been recognized in Variety and other media platforms for her relentless commitment to transforming gun culture in America. At just 19 years old, González shows us that it’s never too late (or too early) to be the change we wish to see in the world.
Tarana Burke - Founder of the ‘#MeToo’ movement
Burke is the Senior Director of Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) and the founder of the ‘me too.’ movement which began over a decade ago. She works with GGE to provide resources for survivors of sexual assault, particularly women of color. Her work with the ‘me too.’ movement similarly creates a space for women to seek support and justice for sexual violence. Her leadership lends a healing hand to survivors of sexual trauma and helps dismantle the systems in place that perpetuate sexually criminal behavior.
RuPaul - Host and executive producer of RuPaul’s Drag Race
You might know RuPaul from his successful television show, RuPaul’s Drag Race. He uses his charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent to encourage queer individuals to celebrate who they are. A respected member of the LGBTQ+ community, RuPaul transforms what is possible for young boys who are coming into themselves and men who use drag to embrace who they are.
As the examples allude to above, transformational leaders are moved beyond individual gain. That’s because transformational leadership is driven by the needs of surrounding contexts. And when it comes to the workplace, change of this caliber can only happen when the strengths of the team are leveraged and the needs of each member are recognized and met.
With this people-first approach, you’re bound to get a team who wants to work with each other, work for the company and work toward themselves.