Posted in coaching, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership

Transformational Leadership

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things” – Peter Drucker – Business Author

Setting the Scene

The transition from management to leadership is about a shift in thinking.   The story below illustrates an iconic leader and the thinking behind his action.

The Gandhi shoe story

Mohandas [Mahatma] Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948), the great Indian statesman and spiritual leader is noted for his unusual humanity and selflessness, which this story epitomises. Gandhi was boarding a train one day with a number of companions and followers, when his shoe fell from his foot and disappeared in the gap between the train and platform. Unable to retrieve it, he took off his other shoe and threw it down by the first. Responding to the puzzlement of his fellow travellers, Gandhi explained that a poor person who finds a single shoe is no better off – what’s really helpful is finding a pair.

Management is transactional doing the job, leadership is transformational it is the thinking about the actions before doing.

 “Transformational Leaders raise the bar by appealing to higher ideals and values of followers. In doing so, they may model the values themselves and use charismatic methods to attract people to the values and to the leader”

Transformational Leadership

In today’s businesses you need reward that appeals extrinsically and intrinsically, so therefore you need a leader that has a clear vision, inspires followers, exceeds goals and performs beyond expectations.  Their approach is to be positive and introduce meaningful change to people, teams and organisations.

There are four components of transformational leadership the “4I model”

  • Idealised influence
  • Inspirational  motivation
  • Intellectual stimulation
  • Individualised consideration

Idealised influence

Gandhi is a great example of an idealised leader, followers wanted to emulate his behaviours.  He wanted to be authentic to the Indian culture and therefore changed the way he lived his life to be true to his cause.

In business today an idealised leader would be a role model with strong ethical behaviour.

Inspirational motivation

President Barack Obama’s inaugural address highlighted the price and promise of citizenship, it was a vision he was selling to the American people.    His speech was full of metaphors, see the example below:-

“The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents”

Intellectual stimulation

Albert Einstein used rational thinking, he considered opposing points of view, and used systematic analysis as a means of creative problem solving and innovation.

The leader challenges the team to re-examine assumptions and seeks perspectives that are not the norm. More current example would be Steve Jobz at Apple.

Individualised consideration

David Brailsford set about creating Team Sky and Team GB cycling by focusing on the individual athletes and concentrating on the margin which would maximise their performance.

This leadership has the ultimate aim to develop followers into leaders themselves.  They spend time listening, coaching and teaching, they display individual consideration.  Displaying empathy, valuing individual needs and encouraging continuous improvement, leads to an increase in followers and a willingness to develop.


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