Author: Nik Dragovic
Transformational leadership is a management approach focused on increasing the self-worth of individuals and teams, which manifests in positive change regarding output and success. This style of leadership truly energises a team by providing them with a clear vision, inspiration and a passion for their work.
If all team members are invited to contribute to a project and are then able to see the benefits of their input on the end product, they become far more excited about their work. This in turn motivates them to perform at their highest level.
For example, each team member may only write a small piece of code, but when each bit of code is included in the final product, they are all valuable and all add to the success of the project. This achievement builds confidence amongst the team and increases interaction between members, who are spurred on to continue succeeding and driving changes.
The result is that members who may have lacked confidence before now find themselves with a clear career vision and perhaps an end-goal of becoming leaders themselves one day.
What does a transformational leader look like?
An effective transformational leader is not just ‘involved in the process’ – they drive it.
Transformational leaders are energetic and enthusiastic, with a passion for the work that they do. Their aim is to help every member of their group succeed, and to provide learning opportunities for others by sharing their own experiences, whether from successes or failure.
A successful transformational leader generally stands out in the workplace. They are the one who keeps their ego in check and is able to self-manage in all conditions.
These leaders are also often the person other colleagues look up to and come to for assistance without feeling judged or looked down upon. They know they must be approachable. If they’re not, they risk losing the all-important trust of their team.
Nurturing transformational leadership in the workplace
For transformational leadership to thrive in the workplace, there needs to be a culture that encourages a range of different viewpoints from people of different genders, backgrounds, experiences, roles and ages. This diversity and more importantly inclusion brings different perspectives to the table and allows teams to tackle complex problems in different and creative ways.
In addition, there must be a culture of accessibility. Managers should be willing and open to sharing their time, knowledge and insight with those they are leading.
In my early days at CGI, my direct manager would always find time for a monthly catch-up with me. He provided advice and direction on the projects I was managing, and mentored me on how to approach particular things that were not straightforward.
Having someone with a wealth of experience to guide me down the right path was inspirational, as it allowed me to take risks and learn from my mistakes. I consider myself fortunate to have had such a transformational leader working with me.
Now, knowing what an important role my manager played in my own career growth, I try to apply that same approach in my own day-to-day interactions with others.
Workplaces also need to have forums where people can learn and openly and honestly discuss their opinions. I find the more you share, the more you learn. This encourages others to do the same, which ultimately drives the business to succeed.
Forums that invite an exchange of thoughts and ideas give employees deep insights into a company’s operations and functions. In these spaces, they also feel able to freely contribute to the organisation with valuable information based on their own experiences. People tend to work more efficiently once they understand a company’s processes and are given the opportunity to contribute to organisational change.
Transformational leadership not only optimises team performance and productivity in the short term, but also has the power to shape the success and future career growth of all who are led in this way.
The success of this leadership style relies on a workplace grounded in diversity, free thought and encouragement of all employees to drive change and positively contribute to the organisation.