Pat Heydlauff

How Transformational Leaders Influence

By Pat HeydlauffPat Heydlauff

“Research evidence clearly shows that groups led by transformational leaders have higher levels of performance and satisfaction than groups led by other types of leaders. Why? Because transformational leaders hold positive expectations for followers, believing that they can do their best,” stated Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D., on Psychology Today’s blog.

Transformational leadership is absolutely essential to delivering value in the new business platform. Transformational leadership’s generally recognized definition is one that enhances the motivation, morale, and performance of followers through a variety of tools, strategies and characteristics which include:

  • Connecting the follower’s sense of identity to the project and the organization;
  • Setting a good example by being a role model for followers interesting and inspiring them;
  • Challenging followers to take ownership of their work, and
  • Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each follower, so the leader can align them with tasks that enhance their performance.

Transformational leadership might also be described as the vision of the leader residing in the heart of the workforce.

Roadmap to Transformational Leadership: An online search of “transformational leadership” quickly reveals so much interest that there are over three million options. But how do you get from being a good, even great leader to one that is transformational? Below are three common traits that are a requirement in leadership’s toolbox to move from great to transformational.

Inspire through act, deed, example and clear orbital communications. Leaders are expected to have integrity, clear goals and have the company vision clearly emblazoned in his heart.

  • First, the leader needs to use visual, auditory and kinesthetic communications to implant that vision in the heart of the workforce. Since people learn differently, it is important to connect with each one: some like to see the message, others like to hear the message and the last group likes to feel what you are communicating. Then the leader must make the communications orbital by having the workforce play back his message so he is sure the workforce has the correct interpretation of what’s expected.
  • Second, the inspiration comes from letting the workforce know that he believes in them and their ability to succeed. Again, that needs to be communicated visually, audibly and kinesthetically.

Empower them by setting achievable goals, being a good example, providing them constant support and using the “we” word. It’s not about you and them but rather the collective “we” that accomplishes great things. You may also need to further enable them at this stage by making sure they all have the skills and tools necessary to complete the task at hand.

Encourage them by showing interest in their progress, public recognition of meeting their goals or exceptional work (communicated visually, audibly and kinesthetically) and maintaining a physical presence. Don’t just text or email them. Recognize them face to face when possible or for added emphasis. By showing interest in their progress and complimenting their progress you not only inspire and empower your workforce but encourage their achievement and improve their performance.

Transformational leaders increase productivity and profitability because they understand how to communicate their vision to engage the workforce, communicate in “we” terms and collectively celebrate their success.

Pat Heydlauff speaks from experience. She works with organizations that want to create an environment where employees are engaged, encouraged and involved, and with people who want to be in control, anxiety-free and confident. She is the author of the forthcoming book, Engage: How to Lead with Power, Productivity and Promise and Feng Shui: So Easy a Child Can Do It. She can be reached at 561-799-3443 or