This is the second in our series of articles that looks at leadership capacity and its impact on organizational growth. The full series will be available for download as a white paper once it is completed.
In our last article, we discussed how leadership impacts your organizations ability to grow. Now let’s discuss some of the characteristics that leaders need to impact the growth of their organization.
There are certain core characteristics the majority of leaders possess. However, there are also an additional set of characteristics that define transformational leaders — leaders that have the ability to make an impact on organizational growth.
It is an organizations ability to develop this next level of leadership capabilities through training programs, mentoring, and skill development programs that put organizations in the enviable position to grow year over year without experiencing dips in performance.
Core leadership characteristics
There are certain leadership characteristics that, while important, do not inspire organizational change and growth that help companies develop into innovative, consistent industry leaders.
Examples of these core leadership characteristics include:
- Good judgment
- Communication skills
- Competence or knowledge
- Interpersonal skills
We hear about these leadership characteristics all the time and in many different contexts. While they are very important for leaders to have, there is another level of leadership characteristics that are “must haves” for transformational leaders. These are the leadership characteristics that make an impact and spur growth.
Transformational Leadership characteristics that impact organizational growth
In order to put your organization in a position to grow effectively and on a consistent basis, leaders with the following characteristics not only make them an effective leader — but also a transformational leader:
- Internal motivation and self-management: Transformational leaders find motivation from within and use that as the driving force to effectively manage the direction of the company. The best natural form of motivation is to love what you do and ensure that your values are aligned with the organization you work with.
- The ability to make difficult decisions: Difficult decisions are a part of being a leader. Transformational leaders do not back away or put off tough decisions. Difficult decisions are made easier when decisions align with clearly defined vision, values, goals, and objectives.
- Check their ego: When placed in a position of power, it is easy to let your ego get the best of you. However, transformational leaders keep their ego in check and do not let it get in the way of doing what is best for business. The benefit of checking your ego ensures you put the company first over personal gain and encourages the best input from others within the organization — because when the company succeeds, you as a leader also succeed.
- Willing to take the right risks: Anyone can take a risk. Transformational leaders take calculated risks that more often than not result in positive outcomes. Trusting your instinct, as well as your team to gather the necessary intelligence is important. Trusting your gut is easier when you have taken the time to research, evaluate and inform your decisions with input from those around you. Failure to take the appropriate risks and make these difficult decisions will inhibit change and your ability to grow.
- Organizational consciousness: Transformational leaders share the collective conscious of their organization. They understand what actions to take to evoke change, spur innovation, and make decisions that will create growth. Since their own values are aligned with the organization they share a joint purpose with the organization and do not just view their position in the company as just a job.
- Adaptability: Transformational leaders are willing to adapt and are always seeking new ways to respond to a constantly changing business environment. They know that the second they stand still is when they will be passed by their competitors; which means they are open-minded to change and lifelong learners.
- Willing to listen and entertain new ideas: It is a rare individual who can build an empire. Transformational leaders understand that success is a team effort and growth is derived from the willingness to be open and listen to ideas from all levels of their organization. Transformational leaders create intentional ways to listen to their team and incorporate their insights.
- Inspirational: People want to be inspired. Transformational leaders have the ability to make those around rise to the occasion. Inspiration comes not just from a formal motivational speech or simple recognition for a job well done, but by treating people as individuals and taking the time to understand what motivates and inspires their team.
- Proactive: Transformational leaders are proactive decision makers. They do not wait around for others to make decisions and then react. They are willing to take risks, try new things and take an innovative approach to growing the organization. However, they also understand how to manage risk and make decisions that are backed by research, multiple insights and are well thought out.
- Visionary: Being a visionary is about setting a realistic and concise company mission, vision, and values that fit the culture of your organization. Transformational leaders have the ability not only to effectively communicate the vision, but also get every person to buy in and work toward that vision by communicating with passion and clearly emphasizing the direction they want the company to pursue.
Transformational leaders constantly strive to have these characteristics. Developing these characteristics is what separates companies that are led by managers versus leaders.