The First Step to Transformational Leadership

[This is the 1st of a 3-post series on the steps to becoming a transformational leader.]

trans-form  n. to change the inner nature; to change the character of

trans-for-ma-tion n. the process of being transformed

Today’s business literature is awash with the concept of leadership. With 6,330,000 results on a Google search, the concept of transformational leadership is among the most often discussed in business today. But be not dismayed at this enormous buffet of options. Leadership transformation is not as daunting as many suggest, and is in fact a process of following four sequential steps.

Here is your first step.

Where Transformational Leadership Begins

It begins with your character.

Aristotle said that “character is that which reveals moral purpose, exposing the class of things a man chooses and avoids.” The US Air Force Academy states that character is “the sum of those qualities of moral excellence that stimulates a person to do the right thing, which is manifested through right and proper actions despite internal or external pressure to the contrary.”

Character, therefore, is the depth of your moral convictions. It is not whether someone has character, for everyone has some character. It is much more a question how deeply ingrained the qualities of character are within the heart and soul of the leader. It is frightening to witness how quickly a once mighty, profitable, and progressive organization can be brought to their knees by leaders of shallow character.

World-renowned management thinker Peter Drucker said, “You can forgive a person for bad decisions or poor execution, but you can not forgive them for a lack of character.” Further, General Norman Schwarzkopf said, “Ninety-nine percent of leadership failures are failures of character.”

3 Components of Transformational Leadership Character

So what exactly constitutes character? The three essential elements of character are wisdom, integrity, and self discipline.

  1. Wisdom means knowing the right thing to do.  As a leader, you must clarify your internal anchors – those personal convictions, morals, values, and standards upon which they will lead.
  2. Integrity is doing the right thing. It is walking your talk.  This is where transformational leadership is first seen by other?
  3. Self-discipline is doing what is right even when it’s tough.

When all three are aligned and in action, you will boldly climbing up the first step toward being a transformational leader!