“What happens when everyone is asleep is called Evolution. What happens when everyone is awake is called Revolution”G.K. Chesterton
Few would argue the world is perfect, or even remotely close to perfect. “Unprecedented” is a fitting description for the times we live in; unprecedented natural disasters, unprecedented pandemics, unprecedented political and social turmoil, and the list goes on. Conditions have slowly evolved, or disintegrated, leading to the rapid deterioration of trust and faith we see within society today. It is not too late, however, to reverse course and begin to build people, culture, and society up, rather than tearing it apart, but these changes will require skilled change agents ready to lead from the front.
Transformational leadership involves moving teams of people from where they currently find themselves to a position of better opportunity and potential for success. This transformation could be small, such as a new CEO changing the direction of a company, or it could be so significant that it has the potential to impact society. Even the smallest transformations have the potential, through developing influence, confidence, and cooperation, to change the world. Transformational leaders come from all backgrounds, occupations, and experience levels. Few set out to revolutionize the world, they simply want to revolutionize their world. These leaders include Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Jeff Bezos, Andrew Carnegie, Coco Chanel, Walt Disney, Ruth Baber Ginsburg Bill Gates, Nikki Haley, Steve Jobs, Rhonda Kallman, Martin Luther King Jr, Jim Koch, John C. Maxwell, Scott Moscrip, Elon Musk, Serena Williams, and many many more.
Transformational Leaders all share a few similar characteristics that contribute to their success. These characteristics are not overly complicated and each of us can begin to incorporate these elements into our leadership style and professional relationships to lay a foundation for transformation.
Transformational Leaders develop a vision of their intended future and begin to build a plan to get them, and their team, to that future. This vision can come as a result of an “Aha moment” or can be intentionally developed and manicured with the assistance of team members and stakeholders. The key to strategic vision is that it must be communicated effectively to gain buy-in from the rest of the team and external partners. Strategic vision, when developed and communicated effectively, serves as a unifying component within an organization, ensuring the organization is moving in one synchronized direction.
Champion the Vision
Transformational Leaders “Own” the organizations strategic vision. They never hide behind stakeholders or external factors when questioned on the direction of the team. Additionally, they become the face and embodiment of the vision, ensuring their actions contribute and reinforce the vision. This shows up as personal engagements with team members and partners on projects that directly contribute to progress towards the desired future. This also shows up in the personal and professional decisions of the leader; all elements of the leader’s life bring focus back to what their organization is trying to achieve.
Foster an Innovative Environment
Transformational Leaders are attempting to revolutionize some aspect of their organization, industry, culture, or society. To achieve this, they accept that experimentation and innovation is vital to the process, and as such, failures along the way are part of the process. Transformational Leaders do not adopt a “Zero-defect” mentality, but rather foster learning through trial and error.
Inspire Commitment to the Vision
By communicating a well-developed vision, that incorporates the needs and beliefs of the entire organization, and living that vision, leaders will begin to develop buy-in from their team. As they enable experimentational learning to occur, without reprimanding failures, they earn the trust of their team. Consistency through this process earns the leader a reputation of integrity and honesty. These elements lead to an adoption of the organization’s vision by each person on the team who then begin to further “Champion the Vision.”
Revolutionary change results in sudden changes in direction, an uncomfortable feeling for most people as humans are truly “Creatures of habit.” With the right leaders, however, we can inspire these revolutions rather than simply accept the gradual transitions of evolutionary changes. We cannot change the world by ourselves, but we can begin to change the way we lead our teams, now, so that when a world-changing opportunity presents itself we will be ready.
Here at Aggregate Project we define leadership as “Inspiring teams to achieve common goals.” Contact us now to schedule a complimentary 30-minute discussion on transformation with your team.