transformational leadership - what's transformational leadership

What’s Transformational Leadership?

What does it take to become a good leader these days? gives us a great breakdown of all the different types of leadership, but perhaps the most important one to know and study is transformational leadership. According to the University of Massachusetts Global, a transformational leader is a leader who knows “how to encourage, inspire, and motivate employees to perform in a way that creates meaningful change.” Put plainly, a transformational leader is one who establishes goals, creates clear plans, is passionate about their work, and is able to inspire others to do and feel the same. 

James MacGregor Burns was the first to coin the concept of transformational leadership with his book Transforming Leadership, which is still a popular read today for those looking to become better leaders. Burns used Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to break down the actions of a transformational leader that differs from others. 

What’s a Transformational Leader?

Transformational leader giving speech on stage

While a transactional leader will exchange physiological needs, safety, and belongingness for work, it is the transformational leader who will go above and beyond to provide esteem and self-actualization for good work. A transformational leader needs to focus on creating personal and workplace growth, loyal relationships, and inspiring their following. 

About Transformational Leadership

The most common words that come up when poking around the internet about transformational leadership are vision, authenticity, integrity, growth, mindset, recognition, performance, creativity, originality, risk, and innovation. And while all these qualities are good to have and exercise daily, what do all these buzzwords really mean? All of these can be simplified into the four elements of transformational leadership: idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individual consideration.

It’s important to take a step back and hone in on why you and your team are here together and what precisely it is you wish to accomplish. Think big picture. How are you helping your fellow people and mankind? What kind of mark do you wish to leave on the world? Asking big questions and creating a detailed game plan together. 

Why Transformational Leadership Is Beneficial 

But transformational leadership is more than just a philosophy, it’s an action that must be performed and kept in motion. Transformational leadership is what will create a flourishing workplace that allows people to present their best selves while producing their best work. Using this method will give your employees the confidence to put in everything they have, and then some. Happy employees equal a successful company. Your passion will ignite the passion in others and remind them why they wanted to work with you in the first place.

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