The 3-Step Guide to Transformational Leadership
You can define it perfectly; you know its core tenets and elements, but how on Earth do you actually implement Transformational Leadership in practice? A lot of resources out there will tell you how this leader would act in theory, but let’s take it a step further and talk about the real world. Here are 3 tips that may appeal to your real life situation:
1) Be careful When Selling the Vision
Most sources would wax and wane about how a leader has to have a “vision” and to “sell the vision” to followers. While mostly true, don’t get carried away and more importantly, know when a vision needs selling.
Most people find the idea of a vision cheesy. Thus, any attempts to mention a vision (with the exception of tangible goals), would probably come off as corny to any average Joe. Sometimes a project doesn’t need a vision. This is especially true in middle-management, where sometimes projects given are plainly downright mundane; packaging it any differently is a tough sell and would only alienate employees.
Solution? Skip “official” visions, unless you are absolutely sure that they are perfectly crafted, absolutely inspirational and catchy. Skip any attempts to directly sell a vision. Make it implicit instead, and let your workers naturally figure out why that project is of utmost importance and why they should care about it.
2) The Art of Delegation
Simple rule: If you have to delegate a non-urgent task, give it to the most willing person, not the most qualified. Sometimes you will meet workers that wish to expand their skill set and would do anything to secure a certain position in a project. In contrast, you will also meet hardened veterans in a particular task who are often seen as reliable; leaders love to rely on them given the convenience.
By handing the job to the worker who is willing, they are more likely to go the extra mile. In the process, they do something that makes them feel important; expanding their potential in your project to boot. If they flunk, which can happen, you can always subscribe to a more qualified worker later. By doing this, you can transform an ordinary worker and bring out talents that may have gone unnoticed.
3) If Possible, Don’t have Rigid Instructions
To foster creativity and personal stake, tell a worker what you want instead of how you want it done. Of course, this is dependent on the project: Some jobs require clear and structured instructions for effectiveness. For other jobs though, give your employees the chance to craft their own methods. Not only do they feel like they have personally contributed in a more important aspect, it forces them to think and expand their creativity. In general, people dislike being told exactly what to do and making their own personal opinions devoid.
For all it theorizing, sometimes a more concrete approach is necessary. These 3 tips are easy to implement yet are fundamental to becoming a transformational leader. Don’t be cheesy with your visions, bring out the best from your worker through effective delegation and lastly, give them an avenue to be creative.