Ben Bryant, professor at IMD Business School, believes there are certain core features (behaviors and personal characteristics) that defne transformational leadership.
He groups these of transformational leaders into the following clusters:
|Opportunity seeker||Solves problems, has insights, finds the right idea or right solution|
|Intellectual||Takes sensible risks (both personal and organizational), recognizes constraints|
|Creative||Goes against status quo, doesnt always do the expected and can behave unconventionally|
|Moral||Behaves based on values, beliefs and sense of moral purpose; acts trustworthy|
|Confident||Displays assuredness, optimism, self-efficacy and internal control|
|Inspirational and/or visionary||Articulates new ideas or goals; uses artful communication, dramatic metaphors and exciting presentations to control followers’ attention and to inspire them|
|Empathetic||Shows sensitivity to followers’ needs and desires, cares for others, encourages emotions and expression, doesn’t abuse power|
Returning to the question of whether there is a pattern of leadership styles across geographies, transformational leadership is widely recognized as a trigger for exceptional operational performance on a global basis. According to the research team led by Boehnke, despite needing to adapt to national differences, transformational leadership greatly improves performance.
At this point it is useful to highlight several points:
- Leadership is not just for formal leaders. It applies to leadership in its broadest sense. As already mentioned, leadership happens at every level within an organization.
- Transactional and transformational leadership styles are not mutually exclusive. It is not a case of one and only one; good leaders are a hybrid, possibly with one side more dominant than the other. Such leaders are adept at knowing which style to apply and when.
- Interestingly, transactional and transformational styles can be leveraged. Leaders can transition in and out of one or the other, as required.
So no more excuses. Let’s go and lead!