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Do You Have What It Takes to Lead a Transformational Organization?

Written by Terri Wallin

Until you incorporate a transformational leadership style, it is unlikely your organization is transformational.  Organizations become transformational when the leader possesses the skill set of a transformational leader and actually embraces transformation.  There is an increasing volume of literature on the subject of transformation and specifically about the transformational leader.

Jumping out of the Fishbowl

According to authors Tichy and Devanna, a transformational leader is someone who will revitalize an organization and actually alter the culture.  A transformational leader can “define the need for change, create new visions, mobilize commitment to those visions, and ultimately transform an organization.”

Tichy and Devanna in “The Transformational Leader” describe transformational leaders “like architects who must redesign outmoded factories for a new use”.  There are many characteristics found in a transformational leader.  The transformational leader is a visionary with the ability to execute actions to achieve and sustain his/her vision through others.

S/he is adept at dealing with complexity, ambiguity and uncertainty.  S/he is a change agent, a courageous leader, a risk taker and one who knows how to take a stand.  S/he believes in people and isn’t afraid to make hard decisions.  When making these hard decisions, s/he takes into consideration the impact to others and is sensitive to the needs of the people served. S/he empowers others and is a value based leader.  This means s/he operates under a core set of values, living the values consistently.

The transformational leader is a life-long learner who has the ability to own mistakes and learn from them instead of blaming others.  Mistakes for the transformational leader are seen as learning opportunities.

With the world around us ever changing, businesses are continuously challenged with survival.  The ability to transform an organization is the key to having your organization flourish and thrive in this competitive market.  There is nothing more gratifying than having a bold vision that is accomplished through a team of people who are energized by your vision and are excited to make it happen.  

Do you have a compelling vision you desire to achieve?  Do you have the courage to do what’s right in spite of potentially losing your job?  Are you driven by values to guide your decisions and aspirations?  Are you a life-long learner and embrace feedback?  If you answered yes to these questions – you likely have the essential characteristics of a transformational leader and you can do incredible things that favorably impact your organization.  If you haven’t already, give it a try!

Related Blog Post:
Transformational Leaders Lead with Courage


[1] Tichy, N.M, & Devanna, M.A. (1986, 1990), “The transformational leader”, New York: John Wiley & Sons.

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