Think about all the leaders you know, who among that group is a leader who can and does change their world, change their businesses, change their communities, and families? Have you come up with a name or two or three?
John Maxwell is quoted as saying this: “If your actions inspire people to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you are a transformational leader.” [from his latest book “Leadershift.”]
Early on in our careers, who are we most focused on? Of course, ourselves. We want to get in there, to do a good job, get a pay raise, a good yearly review, and a promotion at some point. We rarely think about what we can do to grow our peers, to be accountability partners, how to grow the business, and so on. We also feel that we already know all we need to know, after all, we earned a degree, and we are not ready to do any more learning.
Today, what is your top priority in your career?
No one climbs the ladder of success alone. As we climb, there will be times when we find out that we do not know it all. There is always someone who has traveled more, experienced more, been in the presence of very successful people and instead of taking a selfie with the person you might learn to step back and observe what abilities they have that makes them successful. We also will find out that there will be knowledge we have not learned or been exposed to and it is indeed time to go back to school [so to speak] and get educated in the skills, processes and emotional intelligence we did not have in college.
Leadership can be trained, but to be truly transformational one must go to another level. Here are some of the basics of becoming a transformational leader.
I Have a clear picture of what a transformational leader looks like and what they do. What does this mean exactly? Transformational Leaders see things before others, they are willing to say things that others are not willing to say, they believe things others do not believe, they also feel things differently than others do, and because of the previously mentioned items, they do things others are unwilling or unable to do.
II A transformational leader must first focus on their own transformation before they can transform others. What does this mean? It is pretty simple, in order to go up you must give up. This is about pride and ego and admits there are things you do not know, and then you have to be willing to get out there and learn what you do not know. It is all about leading from “positive change.”
III We change inside first, and then we change on the outside. What does this mean? Have you ever heard the word “incongruent?” This is a state of being when a person puts on a false mask or narrative and wears on the outside, when in reality they are someone completely different inside, at home, and outside of work. If you want to be a transformational leader, you must change your inside first. When you do this, it will naturally show up externally, and everyone can see the change in you.
IV Create an environment around you, which promotes transformation! How do I do this? Who will change a negative, non-creative environment from dull to an environment where people can’t wait to show up to work in the morning? Only a very transformational leader. This positive energy seems to walk through the door and fill the office when they walk in. Their persona demands your attention, and you feel good about who you are and where you work and what you do at work. This just doesn’t happen by accident. There is a purpose to it. This focused purpose revolves around key values which are good. Good values include attitude, commitment, competence, forgiveness, initiative, integrity, personal growth, priorities, relationships, and work ethic. How would rate yourself on each of these?
V It’s not only at the office it has to happen and spread outside the office. What do you mean? If you make a difference inside the office, it only goes to the reason you would do so outside the office as well. Making a positive difference doesn’t stop as you exit the office. We also need to invite those we are transforming inside our business to join us outside in our communities. All boats rise when we do this.
Transformation follows a specific pattern. I would like to this pattern below:
Top-Down Leadership influence filters down, not up!
Small To Big Mass movements begins with a few people.
Inside Out Inner values determine outward behavior.
Look up at the five bold headings, place the number beside each pattern below, and then evaluate where you might want to focus on your own leadership journey.
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