Some people appear to be natural leaders. These exceptional individuals are able to inspire, motivate, and guide their teams through periods of significant change and growth. But what exactly sets them apart from the rest? What makes a transformational leader?
And are these leadership qualities and characteristics innate, or can they be developed?
Firstly, let’s look at what makes a transformational leader…
1. Vision and Purpose
One of the key attributes of a transformational leader is their ability to articulate a compelling vision and purpose. These leaders can convey a clear and inspiring vision of the future, coupled with a deep understanding of how their organisation fits into the larger context. They have the power to communicate this vision effectively, rallying their teams behind a shared sense of purpose and direction.
“Good leaders must communicate vision clearly, creatively, and continually. However, the vision doesn’t come alive until the leader models it.”John C. Maxwell
Author, speaker & pastor
2. Empathy and Emotional Intelligence
Transformational leaders genuinely care about their team members’ well-being and success. They actively seek to understand the needs, concerns, and aspirations of their team. The best leaders create an inclusive and supportive environment, where individuals feel valued, heard, and empowered.
“To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.”Eleanor Roosevelt
First Lady of the United States
3. Courage and Risk-Taking
Transformational leaders are not afraid to take risks and try new things. They have the courage to experiment and encourage innovation. They foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement, encouraging their teams to think creatively, embrace change, and learn from failure.
“It is not the manager’s job to prevent risks. It is the manager’s job to make it safe to take them.”Ed Catmull
Co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios, President of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation
4. Authenticity and Trust
Transformational leaders lead with integrity, honesty, and transparency. They establish a foundation of trust within their teams, ensuring open and candid communication. They inspire loyalty and commitment from their team by being genuine and consistent in their words and actions.
“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.”Bob Marley
Singer, songwriter & musician
5. Development and Empowerment
Lastly, transformational leaders are dedicated to the development of their team members. They invest in their growth, providing coaching, mentorship, and opportunities for skill-building. These leaders foster a culture of innovation and collaboration. As a consequence, individuals have the autonomy to make decisions and contribute their unique talents and perspectives.
“Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.”Bill Bradley
American politician & former professional basketball player
So, we’ve established that transformational leaders possess a combination of visionary thinking, empathy, courage, authenticity, and dedication to their team’s growth and development. They inspire and guide their teams through change, fostering a culture of innovation, trust, and collaboration. Next, let’s discuss whether these leadership qualities and characteristics can be developed.
Can one develop transformational leadership qualities?
We firmly believe that anyone can improve their leadership skills and develop the qualities listed above. Of course, some people find this easier than others. However, we’re here to help you feel confident in leading your organisation towards a more adaptable & value-driven future.
Our Certified Transformational Leadership Course (ICP-LEA) is available both online and in-person, with public courses held in London and Norway. We also offer in-house courses worldwide, so you can get the training you need no matter where you are.
About the Certified Transformational Leadership Course (ICP-LEA)
Develop your agile leadership and strategy skills, along with an aligned understanding of agile principles, mindset and common language.
Learn about the mindset shift needed to effectively leverage agile ways of working and how to use experiments to safely achieve your desired organisational outcomes. Come away from this course with a road map to communicate a people first strategy and vision to the rest of your organisation, as well as help you create your own tailored leadership plan.
Upon successful completion of this course you will receive the ICAgile Certified Professional Leading with Agility Certification.
As organisations navigate complex business problems, transformational leadership skills and attributes become ever more critical in driving meaningful and sustainable transformations. So what are you waiting for?