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Transformational Leadership

Posted By Alex Lobo, MBA, Thursday, January 3, 2019
Updated: Monday, December 17, 2018
Originally in NWI's International Wellness Connection blog on November 28,2017
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One of the biggest issues in the management of human talent, the achievement of strategic objectives, and the execution of priorities and needs of the organization, is that people do what they have to do to succeed. 

The issue of leadership has been addressed in many ways; most research being around the need to train people, motivate them, and empower them. The main problem is that each human being has different needs, values, beliefs, talents, resources, abilities, and ways of looking at life. Also, the people who lead do so in different ways through different leadership styles and employ different techniques to have their teams achieve their results. From this perspective, change by itself is not enough to achieve goals and results, especially in medium- and long-term strategy issues in companies. It is not enough to provide methodologies, motivation, and tools. It is necessary to accomplish a change from the operational level, to transform at the level of identity; which generates alignment with respect to values and strategy.

Today, work teams need to self-manage, and for this we need a new way of looking at the leadership issue. Not only the change that the leader asks of his teams, but from the process of accompaniment towards an integral transformation of the person. Today more than ever, leaders have the opportunity to become mentors, coaches, cheerleaders, and sergeants of their teams. Always starting from their own example, from their own resources. But above all, the leadership that is required nowadays has to do with the identity of the leader and the identity of the work teams.

The basis of transformational leadership is self discovery. Who should I be to achieve the objectives? Who do I have to convert? What are the features of my personality that I would have to exalt? What to improve? How should my own resources grow? How am I a generator of that process of change in operability, of transformation in identity? 

Affects Of Transformational Leadership On Work Teams

Transformational leadership positively affects work teams from the level of behavior change —new tasks, assignments, skills to be developed — through to the transformation of beliefs and attitudes, regarding the task itself and team members' own abilities. It is also important to influence the habits and discipline of each member, to explore what are the values and moral and intellectual priorities of each one, as well as their intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, which gives a better understanding of what is relevant for each work team. 

The three concrete actions of the transformational leader are: understanding the fears and obstacles through which each work team passes; understanding the context and current situation of the individual and their resources and immediate needs, and facilitate the process of transformation, starting from what is apparently a simple task to what becomes a new identity.

Transformational leadership involves those steps leaders have to take to manage themselves. To be able to increase their influence on others, understand the motivations, limitations, and fears of their work team, and help them to expand an instrumentalist vision of accomplishing tasks and achieving results to a functional vision of capacity expansion and strengthening of human identity.

There are specific characteristics of the transformational leader and specific motivations and ambitions of all human beings. The contemporary leader understands these elements and uses them in favor of results, growth, and the generation of future value. Thus adding competitive advantage through four characteristics for the development of transformational leadership: 

  1. Social-emotional skills:  these are the concepts of self-care, self-knowledge of emotional intelligence, social intelligence, the motivations and unique situations of each individual, decision-making, and always thinking about this concept of "better decisions" and that of resilience, concept, and concrete development goals, how to grow in each of these areas with specific indications, individually and at a corporate level.
  2. Virtues: the transformational leader is someone who is regulated in the moral and spiritual from the cardinal virtues. The need to develop strength as a central element of consistency, ability to face obstacles and not bend to situations that are in the way. Temperance, which is the virtue that regulates one's appetites, passions, and vices that we generate consciously or unconsciously and that obviously distract us, de-motivate us, and generate physical, psychological, and profitability consequences. Prudence, which is having the clarity of doing the right thing for the right reasons at the right time with the right people, and being able to understand and have a broader vision of the different systems, actors, and forces that exist in the business environment — the number one feature of the trans-formational leader. Development of maturity as the core competence, understood as the ability to self-regulate, self-manage, and to achieve what is proposed.
  3. Persuasion: everything that social influence implies, and how to raise one’s levels of influence to have others do it. Evidently here the key piece has to do with the motivation both at the intrinsic and extrinsic personal level. 
  4. The competition vs. the experience: every transformational leader must have worked, documented their personal learning, their success stories and failures. The leader must understand the specific lessons to work with their teams in specific situations and understand that the main task is to inspire and instruct.

Every one of these characteristics is necessary to increase the chances of success in achieving objectives. In addition to these competencies there are five specific habits that transformational leaders have to master: 

  1. Self-management and self-government: eat well, sleep well, exercise, and lead a harmonious, healthy, and well existence.
  2. Continuous learning: the leader is the first apprentice. Lead from learning and not from knowledge; the knowledge leader gives a chair, the leader in learning accompanies the discovery or transformation process.
  3. Listening: it must be active, with an interest and with a fair amount of curiosity towards people and their points of view.
  4. Discipline: there is no obstacle that can resist perseverance and for this it is important to stay focused, not be distracted, and be a bit stubborn through tenacity.
  5. Celebration: the transformational leader knows how to recognize the effort and knows how to reward the results. Understand that the basis of happiness is progress and that it requires taking time to recognize, reward, and give back. 

Although these habits are not generated from one day to the next, if you start immediately, you achieve your domain through repetition. It is also useful to propose a plan of action and individual improvement for the achievement of goals. This is undoubtedly a recipe or proven formula for accomplishing the transformation of work teams and individuals. Conceptually it makes a lot of sense, however the emphasis must be on the execution and implementation of these concepts.



Alex LoboAlejandro (Alex) Lobo is founder and CEO of the Mexican Institute of Integral Prevention, writer, researcher, lecturer, educator, consultant, Wellness Coach, Life & BusinessPerformance Coach. The Mexican Institute of Comprehensive Prevention, is an association Alex founded after extensive experience working in the design, management and implementation of “Comprehensive Prevention” Models in educational institutions, public and private sector and governmental organizations. He has studied administration, international trade, and has obtained a Master degree in the Mexican Business School (IPADE). Furthermore, he has worked in consulting, teaching and research in various institutions in Mexico, the United States, and South America. “Comprehensive Prevention” ensures full personal development and freeing the inner potential. It humanizes relationships and leads to a state of consciousness, well-being and fulfillment.

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