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  • Writer's pictureTia Teamer

Mastering Vital Leadership Skills for Thriving in Dynamic Work Cultures

In fast-paced, mission-driven environments, transformational leadership is essential to achieving an organization’s goals. Transformational leadership involves shifting others’ views on typical approaches, practices, and procedures to more efficiently and effectively serve constituents and bring about the organization’s vision. A transformational leader works to understand the underlying motivations of current mindsets and works to support team members in stepping outside of their comfort zones as circumstances evolve.

There are several approaches leaders can take to cultivate an adaptive mindset and an agile approach to lead their teams through change. Leaders can work to stay abreast of current developments within their sector and in intersecting industries, as well as the local community, to shift from a detail-oriented focus to a big-picture outlook and foresee potential challenges and opportunities. Transformational leaders should also seek out new experiences that challenge their existing beliefs and assumptions and broaden their perspectives to develop a more nuanced understanding of their environment. Transformational leaders accept that change is constant and take calculated risks to position their organizations ahead of the curve to be able to respond effectively to challenges, as well as learn from mistakes which we refer to as “failing forward”.

How transformational leaders guide their teams.

Individuals committed to becoming transformational leaders should adopt a learning mindset, be aware of their limitations in expertise and ability, and bring in team members who can fill those gaps. They must also communicate clearly with their teams about expectations, goals, deliverables, and measures of success. Clarifying goals and measurements creates a greater ability to forecast outcomes and adapt to changes in the environment. This also allows team members to recognize, acknowledge, and celebrate success.

Likewise, transformational leaders should give explicit permission and encouragement to their team members to spend time enhancing or building new knowledge and skills through professional development opportunities.

Continuous learning and self-improvement are essential for individuals to recognize their strengths, weaknesses, and hidden biases, gain the trust of their team members, and increase their credibility. They can enhance natural qualities of leadership, assertiveness, self-confidence, problem-solving, and communication, as well as streamline activities to enhance operational effectiveness. 

Transformational leaders must be open to feedback from team members, peers, and other stakeholders alike. Transformational leaders adopt a collaborative rather than top-down approach to achieving shared goals, know they don’t always have all the answers, and embrace a continuous improvement mindset in their personal and professional development. 

Transformational leaders need to develop self-awareness to understand their strengths, weaknesses, feelings, thoughts, and values - as well as how they affect the people around them. Partnered with self-management of thoughts and feelings that arise during times of stress or uncertainty, leaders can unlock their potential to maximize their performance and that of their organizations.

Transformational leaders establish positive feedback loops within their teams to reinforce progress and enable course correction when necessary. They also empower their teams with the autonomy, resources, and support they need to succeed. A win for a team member is a win for leadership.

Becoming a transformational leader.

As you seek to develop as a transformational leader, reflect on the following questions:

  • Are you aware of what’s happening in and around your organization and community? How do you know?

  • Are you challenging yourself by seeking out new experiences and perspectives?

  • Are you communicating expectations and goals clearly to your team? Have you asked them to tell you their understanding of the standards you have set, and how they will know when they’ve succeeded?

  • Do you specifically instruct your team members to seek out continuous learning opportunities? Is this supported in the budget, tracked in the evaluation process, and is time allotted to do so?

  • Do you give and receive feedback from team members and other stakeholders in a respectful and supportive way?

  • Are you managing your thoughts and feelings – not blaming others for “making” you feel stressed or frustrated – during times of increased urgency?

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