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7 SIGNATURE Traits of a Transformational Leader

Transformational Leader: A surreal and practical leader who brings stability during ambivalent times.

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Bina Patel, PhD

What would you do if you were put in a position of authority, leading an entire task force team for COVID-19, because your boss is out sick? Imagine the degree of responsibility you have on your shoulders every single day! You are now asked to make a major decision, identify programs to cut while saving jobs. In my article, 4 WAYS Why Transformational Leaders are Needed More Than Ever, I shared detailed insights on the impact that transformational leaders make on an organization during uncertain times. What makes individuals transformational leaders?  The following characteristics are present in transformational leaders and during times of uncertainty, transformational leaders rise to the challenge.  Every organization has transformational leaders, and their visibility is shown through the quality of their work.  At this very moment, your organization has future transformational leaders, but how do you identify them?  Look for the following characteristics:

  • Mindfully Minding the Ego: Listening to their ego’s voice is a powerful ability to self-reflect. Transformational leaders habitually reflect on their actions and the presence they bestow upon others. Their personal humility is a continuous reminder to thy self and ability to lead others.  
  • Self-Manage Thy Self: Transformational leaders are self – directed in their work, and they achieve quality results every single time. In my opinion, the saying that closely resonates with transformational leaders is,“when they put their minds into doing something, they can achieve anything”. These individuals love and succeed at whatever they do because their values are aligned with the organization’s goals. Transformational leaders set their own milestones ahead of the deadlines given by their superiors. They work fast and execute strategically. 
  • Take Calculated Risks to Make Ambitious Decisions: Transformational leaders are born with charismatic personalities which are reflected in their leadership style.  Around the age of three, they begin to show their charismatic ways of speaking to their parents and other adults in a creative manner to get their way. As they grow older, they like to take big risks, specifically calculated risks based on their experiences and education.  This is critical to their leadership personality.  Within an organization, transformational leaders tap into three major areas to take risks: trusting their instinct; using data acquired by valid sources based on facts, which includes information from trusted team members; and conduct self-directed research from external sources to make informed decisions accordingly. A continuous learner by choice will assess and reassess situations appropriately when strategically thinking of making risky, ambitious decisions with the intention of facilitating the growth of an organization’s mission! 
  • Believe In A Unified Organizational Consciousness: Transformational leaders understand, believe, and share the collective consciousness of an organization’s values, mission, and goals. In providing individual consideration, transformational leaders bestow their emotional intellect on to their team members-seamlessly. They are able to provide a clear path of action to achieve objectives and goals. Transformational leaders have the ability to elicit desired actions from their employees and teammates, equally leading them to a path of success with idealized inspiration. They establish trust! 
  • Transformational Paradigms: Transformational leaders seek and entertain new ideas. They are firm believers of change brought upon by new paradigms. They seek to shift the status quo and cringe at workplace cultures that operate on “this is how it’s always been” mantra. On the contrary, transformational leaders understand that success is achieved with the efforts of an entire team. They make a deliberate effort to solicit fresh, new ideas while utilizing their risk mode mentality to make informed decisions. 
  • Versatility: Transformational leaders have a flexible and adaptable mindset. They easily become chameleons in the midst of chaos and conflict. Not only do they assimilate strategically inside the core of the conflict, but strategically adapt to conditions to keep the train moving forward. Transformational leaders are continuously willing to adapt to new events and tap into their creative ways to respond to grey environments. Their proactive nature allows them to project future outcomes while navigating conflict in real-time. 
  • Leading with Vision: Transformational leaders have wit and agility to lead with a vision. Their expectations are realistic and achievable in their desire to grow the organization. Transformational leaders are able to communicate their vision effectively, leading with a purpose and an inspired sense of commitment. They are able to get senior leaders, shareholders, and the entire workforce to buy into their vision collectively while guiding them in the right direction. 

Strategizing how and where to cut programs is a major task. Saving jobs is far more challenging. How does an organization re-shuffle employees?  How can employees be placed in organizational components where their talent and skills empower them to succeed?  Establishing a roadmap is the first step forward for creating positive change – one that has wheels to take action, while simultaneously empowering employees to accept change. 

Transformational leaders have a unique personality-driven leadership style that helps establish stability during uncertain times.

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