Five Ways to Become a Transformational Leader

Sarah Katherine Tucker

When we were kids, we dreamed about changing the world. Maybe we wanted to become the President, solve world hunger, or help create world peace. 

While most of us won’t become the President or work in organizations that contribute to solving world hunger and creating world peace, that doesn’t mean that we can’t leave a legacy. 

Rooted in psychology is the idea that there are two types of leaders–Transactional leaders and Transformational leaders. Transactional Leaders are “regular leaders who work with their subordinates to help them understand what is required of them and to get the job done.” Transformational leaders are “…Charismatic Leaders—they have a vision of where the group is going and attempt to stimulate and inspire their workers to move beyond their present status and to create a new and better future. Transformational Leaders are those who can reconfigure or transform the group’s norms.”  Research shows that Transformational leaders also generate better performance and job satisfaction and contribute to higher employee well-being levels. 

While being a Transactional leader gets the job done, Transformational leaders can generate growth in their company and their employees. While Transactional leaders complete a job, Transformational leaders leave a legacy. Want to leave a legacy? Check out these tips to help you become a Transformational leader.

Be Human, And See Your Employee’s Differences As Strengths

Transformational leaders have a “role model” component to their job and can create trust and respect within their team. Be genuine, honest, and take responsibility for your team’s mistakes to set an example for your employees. Additionally, just as you would want your team to see you as an individual, use an individualized management style for each of your employees to connect with them and make them feel valued. 

Be Enthusiastic, And Share Your Enthusiasm.

If you aren’t passionate about your work, a project, an event, etc., nobody else on your team will be. To be a Transformational leader, you must genuinely hold enthusiasm and passion for what you want your team to accomplish. Share your passion—tell your employees how excited you are about projects, compliment them when they achieve something big, and encourage their passion, too. If you struggle to find any enthusiasm, you may be in the wrong field of work. 

Define The Vision And Purpose Of Your Work

It’s hard to head somewhere new without direction—and you won’t start to go anywhere without a purpose. To help your employees feel motivated to continue creating and contributing, they need to know how and why they are doing what they are doing. Provide your teammates with achievable goals and deadlines to meet, and constantly ask for feedback on how a project is going (good or bad). Additionally, explain how a project fits into the business goals overall. It’s challenging to want to contribute to a task when you aren’t quite sure what the point of it is. Ensure your employees that what they are doing is essential. 

Motivate Others

Part of being a Transformational leader means helping make changes. There’s no doubt that making adjustments and pushing past what’s easy requires a little bit of motivation, which can come in the form of a manager. To help your team members move past challenges, encourage them—remind them of their potential, that you’ve seen their success in action, and that you know they can get the job done. This doesn’t mean if they come to you with concerns, you brush them off—burnout is real, and in some cases, the most motivating thing you can do is encourage them to take a break. However, when that’s not the problem, and they need a little push, be there to provide it. 

Encourage New Ideas 

Being a Transformational leader, you probably have quite a bit of confidence and probably already bring many new ideas to the table. But make sure to take the backseat sometimes and encourage your employees to come to you with new ideas. You could set aside time on each weekly meeting for a new idea, ask for any suggestions or ideas during 1:1’s, or even provide a basic idea form link for employees to suggest their ideas. Lastly, and most importantly, if you go through with an employee’s idea, make sure to give credit where credit is due. 

Let’s face it—nobody remembers the mediocre manager they once had. And while you may not be the President, solving world hunger, or working towards world peace, you can make a little difference in someone’s career by being the best manager they’ve ever had. 

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