Becoming a Transformational Leader

Leadership during and after an Agile transformation will require a very different kind of leader. The days of command-and-control are being replaced by, as Steve Denning states in an article in Forbes, a new leadership “paradigm shift.”

In my previous post, I talked about 5 questions a leader should ask themselves before undertaking a journey requiring culture change or a move to agility. Let’s dig a little deeper into the practicing traits of an effective, transformational leader once those questions are answered.

Transformational leaders are:
Visionary instead of Directive
Visionary leaders use intelligence and creativity to craft and communicate aspirational stories of a dynamic future. They see opportunities others may not be able to see from a perspective most don’t have. They are able to communicate the vision with clarity and inspiration. Simon Sinek calls this “Starting with Why

Network Creating instead of Hierarchy Building
Network creators spend their time building a lean network of amazing teams instead of architecting nested hierarchies. A lean organization will allow quick adjustments when the vision changes or conditions warrant. Your current hierarchy may take time (years) to unwind but an Agile transformation may present a good time to begin crafting smaller, nimble, and well-connected teams.

Empathetic instead of Disconnected
Empathetic, servant leaders are doing things for the benefit of others. They are selfless and humble. For a leader to be empathetic, they need to understand and share what people are going through. This requires a connection and relationship with those you are leading.

Encouraging instead of Deflating
Encouragers become the primary cheerleader for the vision and people of the organization. Every interaction with an encouraging leader makes others feel bigger, more important, and more motivated than before. Believe me, every response from every interaction you have as a leader is being watched and scrutinized – so make them count. Encouragers attract people to their vision. Deflators repel.

If you are a leader within an organization undertaking a cultural transformation, ask those closest to or leading the transformation (your Agile coaches, Agile working team, organizational development group ) how you can be involved and what traits you should focus on for your own personal development. For example, there may be times when you have been a “deflator” and not even know it.

Lastly, it’s important to understand that any leader is, first and foremost, authentic and you should bring you your own approach, style, and personality to all of these traits. More to come in future posts…

Sources of Inspiration:
Si Alhir

Simon Sinek: Start With Why

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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6 thoughts on “Becoming a Transformational Leader

  1. Interesting article you’ve got here Len. I totally agree that there are advantages to becoming a transformational leader. I’d like to add that a transformational leader ought to have the ability to engage people. Meaning team members are well motivated because the leader is 1) able to encourage and emphatize with his employees; 2) he is able to envision the direction of the company, and finally 3) he is capable to rally his different teams to work for one common goal.