Transformational Leadership: Part II

October 26, 2017

LeadershipLast week, I introduced a two-part series on transformation leadership. We defined transformational leadership, explored the concept, and discussed the benefits of adopting this approach.

Well, now you might be asking: How does an individual or organization become Transformational? You first have to know “where” you are. Think about it in terms of going to the mall. Have you ever interacted with one of the mall maps? In order to get where you want to go, you first must know where you are!

Kouzes and Posner Leadership Practices Inventory-Individual Contributor (LPI-IC) assessment can help you find out exactly where you are. This is an excellent 360-degree assessment tool. It illuminates both the effectiveness of your leaders and the level of commitment, engagement, and satisfaction of those that follow. It provides a Leadership Inventory that allows individuals to catalog their primary leadership element. Kouzes and Posner state that when Leaders are at their best, they:

  • Challenge the Process
  • Inspire a shared Vision
  • Enable Others to Act
  • Model the Way
  • Encourage the Heart

Myers-Briggs assessments can also provide transformation elements. They have defined leadership styles in six areas:

  1. Directive Style (Immediate Compliance)
  2. Visionary Style (Long-term Direction)
  3. Affiliative Style (Creating Harmony)
  4. Participative Style (Building Commitment)
  5. Pacesetting Style (Accomplishing Tasks)
  6. Coaching Style (Long-term Professional Development)

Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman states that emotions can be a very valuable tool in guiding our choices and decision-making. He emphasizes several styles of the effective leader

  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-Regulation
  • Empathy
  • Social Skills

One of my favorites is Peter Senge’s Model of the Dance. He believes that all “movement” occurs while it is being inhibited. That is the Dance of Change. In order to engage the change:

  1. Leaders cultivate a shared vision among people throughout the organization, as well as with stakeholders.
  2. Leaders surface and challenge mental models which hinder open communication and learning in themselves and others.
  3. Leaders foster practices, processes, and relationships that make systems thinking a normal approach to innovation and problem solving.
  4. Leaders promote the intrinsic and extrinsic benefits of personal mastery, recognizing areas of needed growth, and being disciplined about those improvements.

Finally, Military Leadership in the United States has shown, first, the longer leaders and their subordinates are together the better likelihood transformational leadership is likely to occur within the team or group. Take away message – time to develop the team is critical. Second, transformational leadership was predictive of unit performance for both platoon leaders (short term with team) and sergeants (long term with team). Take away message - It takes both transactional and transformational leadership to be effective in the long and short term development process.


Effective leaders need to balance the use of authority regarding their interactions with subordinates. Leaders that do not effectively balance their authority will find that followers can reduce the leader’s authority by failing or refusing to accept the leader’s decisions. There is nothing worse for a leader than insubordination. Transformational leaders must focus on personal power and not always positional power to effectively change their team. As a transformational leader, one should be careful to balance transaction and transformation. Too much of a strength can be a weakness. Finally, Ecology suggests: Mutate or Die. Change is a requirement to survive. When considering the need for transformational leadership, the individual or collective leadership team has to first admit that change is necessary to become GREAT.



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