Have you ever heard the saying, “Leaders are made, not born?” It’s true.
Today, I’ll show you how you can transform your work culture through learned skills. We’ll break down the transformational leadership model, the hows and the whys, and how you, too, can inspire.
The mark of a transformational leader is having a clear vision, passion for their work, and the ability to inspire. They weren’t born amazing leaders. They made themselves become this way–the epitome of the self-made man.
You too can become a transformational leader. If you’re ready, let’s dive in.
The What of The Transformational Leadership Model
What is the transformational leadership model?
James MacGregor Burns first used introduced this model in 1978, the era of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. He perfected the theory in his 2004 book, Transforming Leadership: A New Pursuit of Happiness.
Basically, it’s a model that leaders follow to transform individuals such as employees, rather than transact from them. These leaders always keep an eye open for how to motivate.
It’s all about I’s.
Let’s break it down by talking about the four I’s: Idealized Influence, Intellectual Stimulation, Inspirational Motivation, and Individualized Consideration.
Transformational leaders show idealized influence by showing not telling. They show themselves as role models not only for their employees but for their clientele, their followers, and their industry.
That means they idealize the highest goals that their company can achieve. This means a big picture approach to a whole industry, such as what Bill Gates did when he revolutionized software in the 80s.
This means very high standards of moral and ethical conduct, such as Mahatma Gandhi through non-violent civil disobedience. You don’t have to be Gandhi, but you can inspire through your own actions.
Deeply respected by their followers, these leaders with idealized influence have a huge vision for the company with a clear mission on how they will change society.
A great business takes risks–for example, the first year of putting up a business is riddled with risks. All throughout, a great leader is taking risks to change their industries and by extension their societies.
Intellectual stimulation is how transformational leaders can challenge financial or societal assumptions by taking intellectual risks.
It’s how great leaders stimulate their followers through brilliant ideas.
Steve Jobs said, “Don’t sell products, sell dreams.” And he did, by intellectual stimulation through his public appearances, selling what people most wanted–dreams.
Jeff Bezos doesn’t use PowerPoints. Instead, he shares memos:
“The great memos are written and rewritten, shared with colleagues who are asked to improve the work, set aside for a couple of days, and then edited again with a fresh mind. They simply can’t be done in a day or two,” said Jeff Bezos in an INC article.
Leaders stimulate the mind intellectually as they try new approaches–be it a product launch or meeting mindset–to collaborate with their colleagues.
They encourage followers to try things out and think independently–in short, to use their own minds to reach different means.
Their door is always open. Their ears are always ready to listen. Their eyes track changes in societies or individuals. And their mouths communicate their high expectations.
Tim Cook, the modern-day CEO of Apple, says, “You want a very diverse group with very diverse life experiences looking at every problem. But you also want people to buy into the philosophy, not just buy in, but to deeply believe in it.”
Transformational leaders improve the overall performance of their employees not only by acting as inspiration but by motivational techniques to boost team morale. By communicating their expectations to individual followers through creative techniques, individuals become intrinsically motivated to pursue the company goals.
All well and good, you’re saying as you read this. But I want to know how transformational leadership increases sales.
Through inspirational motivation, leaders inspire and motivate their employees, who then are passionate about the company, who then drive clientele to their market, who then boosts sales.
But through individualized consideration, transformational leaders create a diverse, supportive environment by considering each individual that works for their company.
Herbert Kelleher, the charismatic CEO of Southwest Airlines, made sure to connect to the lowest reaches of his company, inviting them to cookouts and even invited Southwest customers to screen the job candidates. He would refuse candidates who didn’t want to wear shorts, or who were rude to attendants, a Washington Post article says.
As a result, Southwest Airlines had fewer turnovers, more productivity, and job satisfaction, which of course gained clientele. It’s still ranked as one of the best companies to work for.
By connecting with each individual, even at the lowest reaches of the company, transformational leaders thus encourage employees to passionately work for the higher benefit of the company, which will drive sales in the long run. It’s a transformation from inner to out.
Transformational Leadership Transforming Translation Services Firsthand
In a transaction, you’re exchanging services, but in a transformation, you’re leading others to transform themselves along with the company. It’s as simple as that.
Ofer Tirosh, the CEO of Tomedes, uses transformational leadership to transform the landscape of translation services. By using this method firsthand, he is able to encourage and motivate through inspiration, intellectual stimulation, ideal influence, and one-on-one individual consideration of his followers.
With the four I’s of transformational leadership, you too can continue to inspire, in whatever industry you’re in. This will, in turn, boost productivity, make the company stable with less turnover, and generate larger revenue in the hands of passionate employees lead by a motivated leader.
Also Read: 11 Ways to Improve Leadership Skills
Transform Your Industry
This innovative model has been used time and time again and is being used still to this day.
Why? Because it works to transform entire nations if you’re following the footsteps of Gandhi or Martin Luther King, businesses if you’re the next Steve Jobs or Tim Cook, or science if you’re Albert Einstein. They were all transformative leaders, leading through innovation.
As you can see, this model is not a structure to be followed exactly. It leaves room for your own style and creativity.
Idealize, inspire, intellectualize, individualize–and you too can transform your own industry.