I once worked with a leader who struggled early in his career to build relationships and put appropriate structures in place to drive change. At his core, he was humble, a leader of integrity, and he was trustworthy. He might not like what some people had to say, but he took the feedback and drove change regardless. This project was quite successful due in part to his ability to recognize he needed to grow his leadership, and extend himself beyond that which he was accustomed to. He was trustworthy.
At the core of this is transformational leadership. I define transformational leadership as the underlying personal values that cause one to have principle centered leadership. There are lots of books written on this subject, among my favorites is “Principle Centered Leadership,” by Stephen R. Covey.
Without transformational leadership:
– You’ll send mixed messages to your employees driving confusion, resistance and abdication.
– Employees will be ambivalent about the change – “we’ve seen this before.”
– Employees won’t believe you. They won’t trust you.
This is the least desirable place for a leader to be in. If you see symptoms of this in your organization, it’s time to begin some serious reflection and think about these questions:
1. What is my true goal? What do I really want to achieve with this change and maybe even with my career?
2. Seek candid feedback. If this is new to you, it may take some effort to convince others you want to hear what they have to say.
3. Am I in the right position? It’s okay to admit you are in the wrong role. Your leaders will appreciate your integrity of this admission.
4. Start rebuilding relationships of trust with your inner circle. Appropriately admit errors in judgement, and start afresh. Your inner circle will help you build this with the balance of the organization. Just ask them.
5. Communicate openly and honestly with your constituents. It is not appropriate to provide a full confession. On the other hand, people appreciate open, honest candor, and will forgive imperfections if you acknowledge them and move on.
6. Hire a coach. Find someone trustworthy to help you through this process. The sign of a good coach is someone who will provide you with the unfiltered truth.
Changing your leadership to become more transformational may be one of the most difficult things you do in your career. However, if you want to continue your success with larger and more transformative change, this is an absolute must.
Dedicated to your profitable transformation,