10 Transformational Leadership Characteristics

Transformational leadership seeks to create a positive change in those who follow.

The leader enhances the morale, performance, and motivation of employees, inspires change driven by a strong purpose, and is able to create a culture of trust and innovation within the organization.

The following are some of the characteristics of transformational leaders.

1. Keep their ego in check

It is easy to let ego take over when you are in a position of power. However, in transformational leadership, it is important for the leader to keep their ego under control and not let it interfere with the best interest of their team or the organization. By keeping their ego in check, the transformational leader is able to put the organization before their own personal gain and also elicit the best performance from others.

2. Self-management

Transformational leaders typically don’t need much direction from others, and are able to manage themselves well. They are also highly internally motivated, and they use this motivation to direct the organization to the right path. These leaders do what they love, and the values are aligned with those of the organization that they lead.

3. Ability to take the right risks

The ability to take calculated risks is a key characteristic of a transformational leader. They trust their instinct, and use the intelligence gathered by team members to make informed decisions. A transformational leader’s team is right behind them and is ever willing to do the research that is necessary to evaluate the situation appropriately. The leader seeks inputs from the team to make risky decisions that facilitate growth.

4. Make difficult decisions

Being a leader is not always smooth sailing, you often have to make tough decisions. Transformational leaders do not shy away from difficult decisions. They make their decisions with a clear focus on the values, vision, objectives, and goals of the organization.

5. Share collective organizational consciousness

A transformational leader shares and understands the collective consciousness of the entire organization. This makes them particularly attuned to the feelings of their team members, and gives them a clear idea of what actions to take to elicit desired actions from the employees. Since they’re tapped into the organizational consciousness, they are able to make decisions that spur growth, and also create a shared vision for the organization that all employees feel a part of.

6. Inspirational

People seek to be inspired and transformational leaders are perhaps the most inspiring of all. They have the ability to motivate others to rise to the occasion. Their style of inspiration is not just limited to formal acknowledgement of a job well done, rather they treat each employee as a valued individual and take the time to understand what motivates them.

7. Entertain new ideas

Transformation can rarely be achieved if the leader is not open or receptive to new ideas. Transformational leaders understand the truth that success is dependent on the effort of the entire team, and growth happens only in an organization with a culture of openness to new ideas from all levels. A transformational leader makes deliberate efforts to solicit new ideas from team members, and also use their insights in making decisions.

8. Adaptability

The leader knows that it is important to constantly adapt to changing market conditions to keep moving forward. They are ever willing to adapt to new situations, and seek creative ways to respond to the dynamic business environment.

9. Proactive

These leaders are proactive in their approach. These leaders take risks, and take an active role in growing the organization.

10. Lead with vision

Transformational leaders set a realistic and achievable vision for the organization. They then communicate the vision effectively to their followers, and also inspire a sense of commitment and purpose. By getting every person to buy into the common vision, transformational leaders are able to strongly guide the organization in the direction that they want.

Y Scouts is an executive search firm that helps nonprofits and social enterprises find exceptional leaders. We believe the right leaders make all the difference. We have pioneered a revolutionary approach to identify exceptional leaders and match them to the positions you need. We’re passionate about the power of the right connections. Contact us if you are looking to find an exceptional leader. Or, to be considered for exceptional leadership opportunities with our clients, please take the first step by joining the Y Scouts Leadership Community.

Resume Background

From the very beginning Y Scouts was speaking my language about purpose, culture and alignment. I knew they were invested in finding someone who was the perfect fit for our company – and they did! No other search firm talks about “purpose”. They pay some lip service to “culture”, for sure, but the concept of alignment around purpose is not widely understood in the search business. The Y Scouts process ensures that everyone they put in front of me will fit our culture. Because their interviews are blind, the candidate is free to express their true nature, motivations and purpose. That prequalified alignment removes a huge burden off of me during interviews. While I still do some work to confirm the cultural fit, I can spend the bulk of my time evaluating their skills and talent.
adam goodmanAdam Goodman, President & CEO of Goodmans Interior Structures