Over the years, we’ve commented on transactional versus transformational HR. In the same vein, there are transactional versus transformational organisations, with their respective transactional versus transformational leadership. The transactional companies are doing thing right (playing to the rules, following convention, concerned with process and avoiding risk), whereas the transformers are doing the right things, tackling change head on and embracing creativity, talking calculated risks and, in general, allowing people to try things out in order to innovate.
In the past business was, in the main, transactional; leadership was autocratic, traditional in structure, hierarchical. Now the world has changed; life expectancy has stretched, mobility has expanded, and work-life balance has become a top priority. People’s expectations are different and the challenges they face every day are ever changing. It’s therefore the transformational leader, within the transformational organisation, who will come out on top.
People have realised that they don’t have to ‘put up and shut up’. They have voices, they have choices. Today’s employee expects to be treated respectfully within an adult-to-adult relationship, to contribute towards the future of the organisation, to work with purpose and influence.
Employee engagement is key; it is today’s leader’s role to ensure team members have clarity of purpose, that they are given every opportunity to succeed; making, and being recognised for, their contribution. People communicate in different ways so key messages must be divested in numerous ways and repeated to make sure they ‘stick’.
In short, transformational organisations (and their transformational leaders) adopt an approach that puts people first. Put simply, they:
1. Create vision and purpose
2. Establish strong values and a standout culture.
3. Role model the right behaviours and enable others to do likewise.
4. Communicate, communicate, and communicate.
5. Build strong, diverse teams.
6. Consult, listen and act, with a healthy regard for others’ expertise.
7. Grow capability in themselves and others.
8. Encourage others to spot opportunities and exploit them.
9. Look inwardly as well as outwardly to refine their approach.
10. Act with transparency, frankness and realism.
Next month we’ll look at successful approaches to growing leadership capability.