How to Become a Transformational Leader
Updated: Sep 14
Everyone leads to some extent because we all have influence. But there are those among us you could call transformational leaders. What’s at stake here? It’s the difference between a leader that settles for the status quo and getting mediocre results versus being a leader who is a catalyst for dynamic, innovative growth. The latter lifts all those around him or her to new and exciting heights!
There’s enormous opportunity for most leaders in the area they serve. Why? Because most leaders would rather work on their organization than on themselves. Jim Rohn said it well, “When I worked at my job, I made a living. When I worked on myself, I made a fortune.”
Change, as you know, is inevitable; but transformation is not, it is a choice. It is a decision and a pursuit that requires an internal shift. A shift that affects our motivations, values, beliefs in what is possible. Transformation doesn’t happen overnight; it is a process. How does it happen? It happens when we agree with an ancient text that says, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” Romans 12:2. “Renew” literally means “to make new, regenerate.”
Transformational leaders see more, think more, risk more, and enjoy more than conventional leaders. A transformational leader is anyone who invites change and is intentional about their improvement. This could include executives, coaches, inventors, teachers, artists, business owners, etc. We could call them “transformers” for short.
Transformers have an “anything is possible” mindset. They have an insatiable curiosity for what could be.
Key to developing an “anything is possible” mindset is reconnecting with our sense of wonder. I think as adults we’ve lost our sense of wonder or sense of playfulness. It doesn’t have to be that way. Like Steve Wozniak, who wondered what you would get or what you could do if you combined an electric keyboard with a television set. Presto! The computer was born which literally changed the world! What dream do you have buried inside of you? What idea has been burning in you and has been trying to claw its way out, but you keep suppressing it? Please let it out! The world needs it!
Transformers have a “let’s find a better way” mindset. They have a relentless passion for progress.
Oakland A’s General Manager, Billy Bean, made history by being the firs to assemble a winning baseball team on a lean budget by using computer generated analysis to acquire potentially great new players – before anyone else discovered them. Know that there can be violent opposition to new ideas from mediocre minds. There’s a stubbornness, a closed-mindedness to consider anything new. “It’s working, why mess with it?” is the mindset.
Transformers have a “let’s break new ground” mindset. They have an eye for disruptive innovation.
If you want to see what this mindset looks like in real life, I encourage you to watch the video Billion in Change. It is about the inventor of 5 Hour Energy. It will blow your socks off. It took just one idea, and just 30 days to bring it to market and generated staggering financial resources for him that he has used to invent new products for underserved people groups.
Transformers have a “what you see is what you get” mindset. They are authentic and self-aware.
While disruptive innovators have many admirable qualities and move the world forward in many ways, they can also become self-absorbed and guilty of blind ambition. They can become artificial, always trying to project an image that rewards.
Being an authentic leader means being appropriately transparent when you are struggling. When you make a bad decision, you admit it and invite others input. It is maintaining a teachable attitude.
I wish I had space here to expand these concepts with video, illustrations, demonstrations, etc., because they are so important and transformative. If you’re interested in learning more, I lead a ½ day and full day training for leadership teams.