Transformational leadership is uniquely suited to driving change. It inspires people to want change, mobilising them to innovate. Rather than controlling or micromanaging every aspect, these leaders provide a vision that people identify with – and act as a role model for the behaviours they want to promote.
Some of a transformational leader’s most important traits include imagination, empathy and passion. An appealing vision is one that people identify with, so that they can see themselves being part of it. But it also has to include an element of surprise – something no one has thought of before, yet is clearly aligned with the accepted values and ambitions of an organisation.
What makes a great transformational leader?
Leaders influence culture firstly through their own actions, and secondly through the actions and behaviours they reward. These serve as a model of organisational values, helping shape organisational culture. This manifests as a set of shared values and beliefs, guiding members of an organisation on how to approach their work and interact with each other.
Transformational leaders understand the importance of empathy, which is essential to establish trust and encourage participation. They care about the way change will impact people and they can identify ways different individuals or teams can make a positive contribution. This creates a connection between the leader and their staff or colleagues.
Of course, a transformational leader's passion is also infectious. It gives people the power and energy to strive for a vision, and motivates them to perform beyond expectations.
Supporting the next generation of leaders
Many well-known transformational leaders have natural charisma and extroverted qualities. There may also be people within an organisation who have the potential to become transformational leaders if they're given the right opportunities and are supported internally by other leaders.
Programs focused on emerging leaders can help identify these individuals and give them the tools or platform to reach and inspire others. Other initiatives include regular ‘town hall’ types of gatherings, which help to create a sense of connection between leaders and staff, and across teams, offering a wide channel for communication. These initiatives dedicate time to talking about the overall mission of an organisation and its future – moving away from an organisation’s short-term, day-to-day operations. It makes all staff part of that mission and future vision.
Gender balance is key
It’s not only tenable but essential to have a gender-balanced leadership team. It offers an organisation diverse perspectives with increased potential to identify strategic risks and opportunities. It places you in a better position to respond to changes in the operating environment, to question accepted practices or highlight subtle shifts in staff or customer behaviour.
When people can see themselves reflected in the leadership team, it brings a stronger sense of value to their work and allows staff to see how they contribute to the goals and direction of their team. It can also encourage participation and staff retention, ensuring a closer alignment of the corporate identity with personal identity.
Leadership at Objective
Objective takes company culture and diversity seriously. Leaders see it as a critical success factor, so they devote time and energy towards making Objective a great place to work. For current staff it’s often cited as one of the main reasons they initially joined and why they stay – in some cases, for a very long time. So, they too invest in maintaining the culture.
We celebrate and reinforce our cultural values through social events. We’re constantly coming up with new ideas for activities we can all share – from celebrating festivals and important dates that reflect our diversity, to supporting charities that touch our families and friends, or activities for fitness and wellbeing.
The company is also highly focused on customer success and delivering value in ways that contribute to better community outcomes. Although we’re a competitive technology company, our key priorities centre on people, and I think that’s very attractive.
Interested in working for a company using innovative leadership models to create a strong and forward-thinking workplace culture? Take a look at our career opportunities.