Four transformational leadership strategies for sustainable success

In today’s competitive and constantly changing business environment, success depends upon the ability to adapt and evolve through innovation. It is innovation that enables an organization to stay ahead of the competition, and even lead market direction.

However, as discussed in our last article “The role of organizational culture and innovation in change management”, innovation cannot be the catalyst for change unless it is supported by suitable culture. One of the levers that drive an organizational culture of innovation is leadership. In this article, you’ll learn four transformational leadership strategies that will help steer your organization to innovation greatness.

Why do transformational leadership strategies ignite innovation?

Despite numerous attempts to establish a process and system that guarantees innovation, no single method has been found to exist. However, there is plentiful evidence to suggest that innovation is enabled by environment (organizational culture, resources, and organizational structure) and inspiration (transformational leadership).

Transformational leadership consists of four behavior groups:

         i.            Idealized influence – behaviors that create trust and build a following

       ii.            Individual consideration – understanding the uniqueness of individuals and satisfying needs

     iii.            Inspirational motivation – providing vision, mission, and increasing expectations

     iv.            Intellectual stimulation – stimulating creativity and idea generation

While all these behaviors play their part to encourage innovation, perhaps the most important are intellectual stimulation and individual consideration:

  • Intellectual stimulation encourages people to think differently, challenge current thinking, and seek new ways to do things and create new products and services to compete in the marketplace.
  • Individual consideration requires deeper understanding of individuals born from a higher emotional intelligence, and inspiration of self-development with simultaneous mentorship, coaching, assistance and support.

Four transformational leadership strategies that encourage innovation

When fostering an innovation culture, it is essential to establish the difference between management and transformational leadership:

  • Management encompasses the administration of people and tasks, and involves duties such as organizing workloads, supervising, and monitoring performance
  • Transformational leadership is about style, providing inspiration that challenges and motivates individuals and teams to go the extra mile and push the performance boundaries

Here are four transformational leadership strategies that leaders implement to improve innovation and creativity in their organizations:

1.      Role modeling (idealized influence)

It is essential to provide evidence of expected behaviors by becoming a role model of those behaviors. Leaders must walk the walk as well as talk the talk. Employees use their manager’s behaviors as a template on which to model their own. A high degree of self-awareness helps the leader to act intentionally and determine the behaviors of his or her team.


2.      Individualize the approach (individual consideration)

Adapting leadership style to individual personalities and goals enables the leader to extract the best from their people. Employees work best when they are motivated by a leader who identifies key skills, and who is prepared to take the time to help employees develop in line with their aspirations.

Good leaders assign tasks based on the talents, skills and interests of their team members while simultaneously challenging those individuals to develop as people and employees.

3.      Guide and inspire (inspirational motivation)

By setting and discussing vision and strategy, the leader is able to guide a team and its individual members toward personal and collective goals. Passion, confidence and effective communication are key to engaging employees in the bigger picture. By delegating tasks according to an individual consideration, employees will become better connected to the mission with a feeling of value and purpose. Good transformational leaders build on initial successes by continually striving to match tasks with improving capabilities and celebrating individual and team success.

4.      Encourage creativity (intellectual stimulation)

Creating an environment in which risk-taking is accepted as part of the process of innovation inspires creative thinking and experimentation to take place. By providing guidance, support and resources, risks can be managed and failures become learning opportunities. In team meetings and one-to-ones, transformational leaders encourage independent thinking and expression of ideas.

The benefits of transformational leadership

Transformational leaders tend to lead highly motivated, passionate and loyal teams. Individuals within the team are more likely to share their ideas and opinions in the quest to create solutions that positively impact performance, productivity and results.

By creating a positive and supportive environment, transformational leadership strategies encourage an environment of trust and teamwork, with the leader taking his or her team to a higher plane.

For further insight into how to develop your leadership capabilities to develop high-performing teams, contact Primeast today to discover how our Management Development Series could help you become more emotionally intelligent and better influence your people.

Join our community of learners and leaders

Subscribe to receive updates on service launches, articles and free learning and development resources