We are all familiar with the age-old anecdote of, ‘If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’, and for many businesses this value remains integral to their day to day running. However, for companies aiming to thrive in the midst of the digital age, this approach doesn’t always suffice when new competition and businesses ethos’s are constantly overtaking the ‘older ways’. Join us as we take a look at how this approach is defined and how you can implement it into your Human Resources department.
What is transformational leadership?
Transformational leadership is characterised by the infusion of energy and vision into an existing leadership approach, with the core aim being to provoke positive change in the lives of those that it aims to reach. A transformational leader will endeavour to guide positivity throughout their team as part of a wider corporation, targeting all layers of responsibility to achieve the namesake of the approach — internal transformation. James MacGregor Burns is widely regarded as being a key figure in the origin of the movement, and his definition of the approach is that it occurs when ‘one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality’, hence why it has become increasingly popular in an age where business culture matters.
Raising HR up
From payroll, to recruitment, employee benefits and employment policies, a Human Resources department is the supportive backbone of any large company. As such, your HR department needs to be proactive when it comes to developing new ways to build and strengthen company values, as well as coming up with new ways to innovate and grow. Often, HR can fall by the wayside and become stagnate in outdated policies, but the modern age calls for accountability, transparency and diversity, and as a result HR must step up to the mark — and this could call for a new approach to leadership from within your team. By reenergising your HR department, you could reshape the perception that both current and prospective employees have of your workplace, a key factor in staff retention rates. From developing a stronger business culture to providing support and information, with the right leading attitude in place you can certainly raise your HR department up!
Transformations can happen
When you choose to implement transformational leadership into your HR department, you have the opportunity to refresh this aspect of your business. Inspiration is one of the key values that you will want to focus on communicating to your members of staff and inspiring those within a business to participate in achieving a certain goal or vision is a powerful tactic. If you are a team leader, driving inspiration might seem difficult but a simple change in habits can refresh both your own attitude to leadership and the team that you are co-ordinating/developing from a HR perspective. Four of the key elements of transformational leadership outlined by Bernard Boss are key to this, they include:
- Intellectual motivation — outline a vision which appeals to the team and offers benefits
- Individualised consideration — provisions for the individual needs of the team
- Idealised influence — act as a role model for socially and ethically good behaviour
- Intellectual stimulation — challenging the status quo and existing assumptions
These principles are key to transforming your HR department, and they will revamp the attitude of the wider team. From listening and creating a concept/goal to work towards that suits everyone’s requirements and ideals, to encouraging your staff to question and deconstruct any existing notions which govern them and embodying an aspirational, transparent structure, your leadership techniques will trigger a transformation that works and reflects your own team and the wider cohort.
The demands of modern HR
The modern workplace has evolved, and Human Resources departments are facing a wide range of unchartered obstacles to overcome, as the workforce diversifies, and new generations take to the helm.
Transformational leadership is complementary to a lot of the emerging calls from staff looking upon HR to increase its functions, and recognition is a key aspect identified by employees. One survey found that up to 69% of people said that they would work harder if they received more recognition. This falls under the idea of people enablement, and it’s a concept that will become integral to any transformational HR department. Under a transformational leadership approach, a HR department can create a culture which is people-first orientated, celebrating achievements and keeping overall momentum flowing. Transformational enablement also encompasses the idea of employees having more autonomy over their own career progression, allowing them to have an active say in this as well as on wider business issues. By welcoming suggestion and creativity, a transformational-led HR department can become a helpful retention tool.
As we’ve explored, the concept is also about nurturing an aspirational, shared sense of ethics too, to stablilise the relationship between the employees and those at the top of the business.