People will follow a person who inspires them.
A person with vision and passion can achieve great things.
The way to get things done is by infusing enthusiasm, motivation and energy.
Working for a Transformational Leader can be a wonderful and uplifting experience. They put passion, determination and energy into everything. They care about you and want you and the project to succeed.
Developing the vision
Transformational Leadership starts with the development of a vision, a view of the future that will excite and convert potential followers. This vision may be developed by the leader, by the senior team or may emerge from a broad series of discussions. The important factor is the leader initiates it or buys into it, completely.
Selling the vision
The next step, which in fact never stops, is to consistently sell the vision. This takes energy, determination and commitment, as few people will immediately buy into a radical vision, and some will join the goal much more slowly than others will. The Transformational Leader thus takes every opportunity and will use whatever works to convince and persuade others to climb on board the bandwagon.
In order to create followers, the Transformational Leader has to be very careful in creating trust, and their personal integrity is a critical part of the package that they are promoting. In effect, they are selling themselves as well as the vision.
Finding the way forwards
In parallel with the selling activity is seeking the way forward. Some Transformational Leaders know the way, and simply want others to follow them. Others do not have a ready strategy, but will happily lead the exploration of possible routes to the Promised Land and the ultimate success.
The path forwards may not be obvious and may not be outlined in details, but with a clear vision, the direction will always be known. Thus finding the way forward can be an ongoing process of course correction and the Transformational Leader will accept that there will be impediments and blind canyons along the way. As long as they feel progress is being made, they will be happy.
Leading the charge
The final stage is to remain transparent and up-front during the action. Transformational Leaders are always visible and will stand up to be counted rather than hide behind their subordinates and their staff. They show by their attitudes and actions how everyone else should behave (lead by example). They also make continued efforts to motivate and rally their followers, constantly doing the rounds, listening, soothing and promoting enthusiasm among their staff.
It is their unswerving commitment and determination as much as anything else that keeps people going, particularly through the darker times when some may question whether the vision can ever be achieved. If the people do not believe that they can succeed, then their efforts will diminish. The Transformational Leader seeks to inspire and motivate their followers with a high level of commitment and determination to the vision.
One of the methods the Transformational Leader uses to sustain motivation is in the use of complements, ceremonies, rituals and other cultural symbolism. Small changes get big hurrahs, pumping up their significance as indicators of real progress.
Overall, the leaders balance their attention between action that creates progress and the mental state of their followers. Perhaps more than other approaches, they are people-oriented, believe that success comes first, and last through deep determination and sustained commitment.
Whilst the Transformational Leader seeks overtly to transform the organization, there is also a tacit promise to followers that they also will be transformed in some way, perhaps to be more like this amazing leader. In some respects, then, the followers are the product of the transformation. When leadership and the organization is successful, everyone benefits.
Transformational Leaders are often charismatic, but are not as narcissistic as pure Charismatic Leaders, who succeed through a belief in themselves rather than a belief in others, they believe in a team effort.
One of the traps of Transformational Leadership is that passion and confidence can easily be mistaken for truth and reality. Whilst it is true that great things have been achieved through enthusiastic leadership, it is also true that many passionate people have led the charge right over the cliff and into a bottomless chasm. Just because someone believes, they are right; it does not mean they are right. They must have a realistic vision and have the perseverance and knowhow to stimulate harmony.
Paradoxically, the energy that gets people going can also cause them to give up. Transformational Leaders often have large amounts of enthusiasm, which, if relentlessly applied, can wear out their followers. The leaders must occasionally inspire and elevate the morale of their staff.
Transformational Leaders also tend to see the big picture, but not the details, where the problems often lurk. If they do not have people to take care of this level of information, then they are usually doomed to fail. The leaders must have staff to handle the details.
Finally, Transformational Leaders, by definition, seek to transform. When the organization does not need transforming and people are happy as they are, then such a leader will focus on how to improve the organization. Crisis time leaders (like our situation today in the city of