Do Transformational Leaders Lurk Within Your Organization?

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Leaders might have charisma.  They might be able to elucidate the corporate vision. They might be able to swing big deals and talk to the media. Yet, if they don’t have the BASICTM virtues, they won’t be transformational.  The difference is how they impact the organization they lead from the inside.

James MacGregor Burns, a presidential biographer and authority on leadership studies first introduced the concept of transforming leadership in 1978. According to Burns, transforming leadership is a process in which "leaders and followers help each other to advance to a higher level of morale and motivation".

This shifted the discussion from studying the traits of great leaders and transactional management to a focus on the interaction of leaders and how they work with collaborators toward mutual benefit.  This isn’t a top-down theory on management but a more inclusive approach of “I win if we all win”.

In 2008, Mark McCloskey, a professor at Bethel University’s Seminary School introduced the white paper “The 4R Model of Leadership: A Virtue-Based Curricular Model for Business Education in a Global Context” that later became Work Effect’s 4R Model of Transformational Leadership.

This new model concluded that there are five core traits to building trusted leaders called BASICTM virtues. If these are practiced by a leader, and in-turn exist within the organization they are leading, the organization will thrive. These virtues are:

Beneficial Partnerships are where a leader fosters collaborative relationships. These relationships are interdependent to achieve common ends.

Aligned Emotions are based on the emotional maturity of the leader and knowing one's passions, wants, needs, and the emotional states of followers.

Sustained Determination is the inner strength to initiate action in the face of obstacles, not shrink in the face of resistance, and to sustain momentum in the face of adversity.

Intellectual Flexibility is the capacity of the leader to adapt to the world accurately with the help of others.

Character is one's moral integrity, which is the inner strength to live in accordance with high moral standards.

There are also some questions you can ask to determine if you’ve got a transformational leader:

Do employees trust their leader?

Do they agree with his/her vision?

Does the leader look at more than the bottom line when making decisions?

How does an organization’s actions impact society and the environment and are those values reflected within the leader?

Is the leader able to adjust and consider other’s opinions and suggestions?

Can the leader admit when they don’t know something or are able to identify when someone else is better suited to take on a particular role?

Is success based not on their success but on the success of others and the organization?

If your organization can answer yes to most of these, you might have a transformational leader on your hands. If so, cherish and nurture that person because they will lead you to success.

Without one….not so much.

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