Raising a generation of transformational leaders is at the core of what The Bridge Leadership Foundation stands for. Today, we would be expounding on what the concept of transformational leadership is, who they are and how you can become one.
Transformational leadership is a renowned but not a common leadership style which induces employee productivity, satisfaction and success. This leadership enhances the motivation, morale and performance of followers through a variety of mechanisms. Basically, transformational leadership seeks to create valuable and positive change in the followers with the aim of developing followers into leaders someday.
The concept of transformational leadership was first introduced by James Burns in 1978, in one of his research works on political leaders. According to Burns, transformational leadership is a process in which leaders and followers help each other to advance to a higher level of morale and motivation. He believes transformational leaders are those who seek to change existing thoughts, techniques, and goals for better and greater good. He as well believes people who exhibit this style of leadership are those who focus on the essential needs of the followers.
Examples of Transformational Leaders
- Herbert Macaulay: An exceptional Nigerian leader who is considered to be the father of Nigeria’s nationalism. He was born in 1864 and died in 1946. Macaulay was widely known to fight colonial government in Nigeria in his days. He founded the first political party in Nigeria; Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) in 1923. This platform through which Nigerians could rule over Nigerians. The year the political party was created, it won all the whole seats in the legislative council in 1923, 1928 and 1933. His contribution to Nigeria’s political sphere cannot be overemphasized. He started the wave of Nigeria’s nationalism and other leaders in the Nigerian hemisphere were stimulated and they keyed into his ideology. His party laid the foundation towards Nigeria gaining its independence in 1960.
- Harriet Tubman: She was an American abolitionist who was born into slavery in 1822. She was able to escape from Maryland to Philadelphia. But she did amazing things which distinguished her as a transformational leader. After her escape, she made 13 successful rescue missions for slaves of her kind at from Maryland – parents, friends and other enslaved people. She was able to free up to 70 people without experiencing any death of any during those missions. She as well fought for women’s suffrage in America, as far back as 1896. She collaborated with the Union Army, a party in the American civil war, which led to the freedom of 700 slaves from brutal slavery. She is distinguished for excellence because of her bravery and her zeal to fight the system. Her zeal to end slavery and the determination in giving women of her kind a voice in the determination of who rules over them.
Noticeable Characteristics of Transformational Leaders
The following are some of the attributes of transformational leaders:
- Self-management: Transformational leaders have a sense of direction within them. They are focused and think future, hence manage themselves well.
- Make difficult decisions: Times come when leaders have to take difficult decisions. Transformational leaders do not shy away from taking hard decisions for the benefit of attaining organizations’ values, visions goals and objectives.
- Share collective organizational consciousness: Transformational leaders share the collective consciousness of the entire organization. He understands the employees and knows how to encourage and stimulate desired results from the team members.
- Inspirational: The leaders inspire their employee and colleagues. People who work for them and with them draw inspiration from their lifestyle, what they stand for and what they work towards achieving.
- Entertain new ideas: Transformational leaders do not turn down new ideas or the thoughts of those they work with. They entertain new diverse ideas and extract what could be of value to the movement, association or organization, from it.
- Proactive: These leaders are those who work the talk and not just talk the talk. They act rather than complain over circumstances.
- Lead with vision: Transformational leaders set practical, realistic and achievable visions. These visions are communicated to others so they can fit into them and they can work in unison towards achieving a common vision.
The characteristics of transformational leaders are inexhaustible. The above listed are just a few.
Steps in Becoming a Transformational Leader
- Create an inspiring vision: The main reason people follow a leader is because of his visions. The vision you want people to fit into has to be creative and inspiring.
- Motivate and convince people on why they should fit into your vision: You make them understand why this vision exists, what it tends to achieve, the problems it tends to solve and they get to benefit from the cause.
- Manage delivery of the vision: Working on set out objectives and visions is important. You must be able to combine effective time management, change management and project management. Get as much hands on deck if need be.
- Ensure you build honest and trust based relationships with people: In the course of achieving your vision, avoid losing the trust of those you work with. Carry everyone along, motivate and inspire them towards achieving their own goals and dreams.
The Bridge Leadership Foundation is committed to transforming the lives of marginalized youths who will ultimately become our future leaders. We look forward to you changing things for the better wherever you find yourself.