There are many styles and research views on leadership but one which has gained great acceptance is transformational leadership. The reason is because this style of leadership is centered on the leader’s ability to motivate and inspire their followers. Transformational leaders take extra steps to learn about and understand their followers, express interest in the followers’ needs, care and concern, and take the time to learn what motivates them. Because of the additional processes transformational leaders take they are considered change agents — they actually strive to change how their followers grow.
Think of a time you were serving on a committee, board or organization. You can maybe remember telling your friends how you really enjoyed your experience as a volunteer in one of these situations. It is possible the person who was serving as a leader of that group, was transforming the way your felt as a follower. Do you remember telling your friends this person was a true role model, who listened to everyone’s viewpoint, how they made you truly feel like your voice was important, or encouraged you to speak up because all opinions were imperative, in essence empowering you to strive for higher standards? You may have enjoyed your experience serving on this committee or organization because the leader was able to articulate a clear vision or goal to accomplish. From these experiences, you began to build trust in this leader and gain a more positive view of the committee/organization.
This is how a transformational leader would positively influence and inspire their followers. They have the ability to transform you. They are charismatic and visionaries. In the future, you may want to move from the follower/volunteer role in this group where you have been active for many years, to serve in a leadership role. What type of leader and leadership do you want to represent? The experience working alongside a transformational leader will help you initiate, develop and carry out the steps you learned and help in turn transform your followers and the organization. In the end, you can be the leader others will be talking about.
Becoming a Transformational Leader
How can you do this? As a leader you should strive to be concerned with the followers’ emotions, values, ethics, standards, and long-term goals, (Northouse, 2016). You will need to be confident and articulate your ideas, but listen to your followers building a connection between you and the follower. Working as a team you develop a vision, values of the organization and make sure all know their roles and responsibilities. These steps take time and the more effective you are working with people you will build trust and increase collaboration across the organization or committee. You will know you have been successful as a transformational leader when the feedback you received from your followers is they feel positive about themselves and the contribution they are making to a common goal.