Being a good leader is about so much more than getting work done and hitting targets.
In order to achieve impressive results and succeed in business, leaders need to think past their own self-interest and work with their teams to push forward change – this is known as transformational leadership.
What makes a transformational leader?
In a recent poll, I asked a range of business professionals about their ideas on transformational MDs and CEOs.
They were asked what the most critical personality factors are in a transformational leader, and you might be interested to see the results:
● 51% said that having the guts and ability to drive change was most important
● 22% said that the ability to think big and long term was most important
If a leader has these two important skills, it’s a true sign that they have what it takes to be a transformational leader and will be able to move the company forward in the right direction – towards growth.
A great example of these skills in action is Louis Gerstner who moved from Mckinsey to American Express (AmEx) to RJR Nabisco and finally IBM.
Using his skills to think big, and having the guts and power to make changes, he was able to transform each of the companies he worked at. It’s a great example of how ‘out of the box thinking’ can be applied again and again with truly impressive results.
The sector you’re in doesn’t matter either, as Gerstner proved. He moved from consultancy, financial services, FMCG to technology, but the principles of being a transformational leader were the same.
Remember ‘elephants can dance’
After his success, Louis Gerstner wrote a book titled “Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance” where he outlined the principles and philosophies that he developed through his successful career.
Some of his most important points, that can be applied to anyone wanting to be a transformational leader, include:
● Manage through principles, not procedures;
● Look to the market to dictate what your business needs to do;
● Focus on quality, competitive strategies, and teamwork;
● Get yourself involved in setting the strategies, but let your team be in charge of implementing them;
● It’s always better to be quick and make mistakes than be slow;
● Hierarchy isn’t important, the priority should be to collaborate and solve problems as a team;
● You don’t have to be an expert in everything. Learn what you need to understand, but don’t concern yourself with being an expert
When you think about the leaders, MDs and CEOs that you find inspirational, chances are that they exemplify the majority of the points listed above.
These traits, as well as out of the box thinking are the perfect combination for an incredible manager.