Why We Need More Transformational Leaders

What people miss and want most today is leaders who are authentic and selfless.  We have all seen the scandals involving leaders who deceived and were self-absorbed.  People cannot follow dishonesty and selfishness.  We want a leader we can trust, a healthy and positive work culture, to be a member of a genuine team, a mission in which we can believe, and the tools, freedom, and support to get our jobs done.

Two forms of leadership which we know won’t work are transactional and micromanagement.  The transactional leader is focused on position maintenance not mission achievement.  This leader only gives when they think they can get.  People figure out over time it’s about all them not the mission or the team.  The command-and-control leader or micromanager thinks being in charge of everyone and everything and directing exactly how they do their jobs is leadership.

Transactional and command and control leadership can never produce lasting positive change.  They both reduce trust and limit performance.

They repel talent rather than attract or retain it.  These leadership styles cannot build a true team or a healthy culture.  Only if the mission is mediocrity will be it be fulfilled.   Their organizations chronically underperform.  These are self-centered forms of leadership.

Transformational leadership creates the conditions which allow those led to excel.  This leader is genuine and selfless.  It’s leadership which we can trust.  The character of the leader becomes the culture of the organization. He or she focuses everyone and everything on what’s best for the mission and team.  It frees the team to perform and innovate.  As Abrashoff notes, you have to give up control to get performance.  You have to give away power and decisions to others and these leaders do.

Everyone can grow to their full potential.  This leadership enables the team to have the right work culture and to align operations with objectives.

Everything is mission centered.  The team is free to perform because they can believe in and trust this leader.  This leadership results in enduring fundamental and positive change.  If you have a transformational leader, you can visit that company twenty years after his or her retirement and almost always observe continued success.

Leadership works a lot like love.  Conditional love is limited and limits.  Unconditional love liberates.  Transactional and command control leaders are limited and limit.  Transformational leaders free people and organizations to attain the extraordinary.


From the Teacher: Leadership Lessons with Dr. Saviak is a weekly column with the esteemed Joseph C. Saviak, Ph.D., J.D., M.A., M.S., Management Consulting & Leadership Training.