What’s your leadership style? In my experience, leaders can fall into two broad camps: transactional leadership and transformational leadership. But before we dig into these two styles, if you’re not sure of your style here’s some actions you can take for more clarity:
- Reflect on your actions: How do you make decisions, communicate with your team, and delegate tasks? Pay attention to patterns in your behavior and consider how your team responds to your leadership.
- Seek feedback: Ask team members, colleagues, and other stakeholders for feedback on your leadership style.
- Take personality tests: Personality tests such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or my go-to tool, Extended DISC®, can help you identify your personality traits and how they relate to your leadership style.
- Read, watch and listen: Learn about different leadership styles and approaches – do you recognize yourself in any of them?
Transformational leadership versus transactional leadership
While transactional leadership emphasizes task-oriented activities and exchanges of rewards for performance, transformational leadership focuses on inspiring and motivating followers towards a common goal. Through my many years of experience as an employee, a leader, a coach and consultant, I’ve seen both styles first hand and I believe that for sustained, consistent success, transformational leadership is the way to go. Here’s why:
- Improved Employee Engagement: Transformational leadership inspires employees to believe in the organization’s vision, values, and mission. Leaders who exhibit transformational leadership qualities are able to motivate their employees beyond just fulfilling their job responsibilities. Transformational leaders inspire employees to take ownership of their work and to work towards a higher purpose, which leads to higher levels of employee engagement, commitment, and loyalty.
- Increased Creativity and Innovation: Transformational leaders foster an environment of innovation and creativity. By encouraging employees to think outside the box, question the status quo, and take risks, transformational leaders create an atmosphere of continuous improvement. This approach allows organizations to develop new products, services, and processes that can give them a competitive advantage.
- Better Problem Solving: Transformational leaders encourage their employees to approach problems with a solution-focused mindset. They support their employees in developing creative solutions to complex problems, instead of simply finding quick fixes. This approach leads to more effective problem-solving and better decision-making.
- Higher Job Satisfaction: Transformational leaders empower their employees by delegating responsibilities and providing them with the necessary tools to succeed. This approach gives employees a sense of ownership and autonomy in their work, which leads to higher levels of job satisfaction. When employees are satisfied with their jobs, they are more likely to be productive and to remain with the organization for longer periods of time.
- Improved Organizational Performance: Transformational leadership has been linked to improved organizational performance. When employees are engaged, motivated, and committed, they are more likely to work towards achieving the organization’s goals. This results in higher levels of productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness, which leads to better financial performance.
We are in an era of great change. When we can optimize technology to take care of the transactional tasks, we free up more time for big picture, strategic thinking and that requires transformational leadership. Every organization will need creative, collaborative teams who are motivated to work together in pursuit of a goal – that’s how we meet the challenges of the 21st century.