The One That Can Change Everything

23 de November de 2021
4 min

The One That Can Change Everything

When we think of the figure of a leader, perhaps the image of a person in a suit, appearing to have everything figured out and a high level of authority comes to mind. Or that of the typical man who has succeeded in business and now his story appears in books on how to succeed in life, like the story of Netflix or Google.

Or conversely, maybe the picture of Nelson Mandela giving a speech to thousands of people comes to mind. Or who knows, perhaps that of Angela Merkel at the head of the government.

There are as many definitions of leadership (almost) as people have tried to define it

There are many definitions of leadership. And of course, many types of leaders. This is because leadership is a phenomenon very conditioned by cultural, political, religious, social, and of course, psychological factors.

Years ago, about 50 years, if we asked someone from the Western context what a leader is to them, they would probably respond or define a figure closer to a boss than to a leader.

A figure probably male, with a lot of authority, a rather aggressive communication style, and very focused on results.

However, if we asked the same question in an Eastern country, let’s imagine India for example, the answer would likely be quite different.

So, what are we talking about when we talk about leadership styles?

Goleman and his six styles

One of the most well-known authors globally in the field of leadership is Goleman.

In his classification, Goleman talks about these 6 leadership styles:

  • Coercive or authoritarian: based on hierarchy, authority, and being above employees.
  • Visionary: these are the leaders who take motivation to another level, making it the main glue towards employees.
  • Affiliative: it’s based on creating bonds among team members since it considers group cohesion and belonging as key concepts of success.
  • Democratic: it’s based on taking into account the opinion and needs of others.
  • Helmsman: literally, it’s the helm that sets the course. It’s a quite protagonist figure and does not focus on the needs of others, but rather on following a previously designed route.
  • Coach: like a coach, this leader enhances the good part and minimizes the flaws. It places a lot of emphasis on training workers and helping them improve personally.

Transformative Leadership

Before, long before Goleman’s classification, there was already talk of a style of leadership that could wield a lot of power in organizations: transformative leadership.

As its name suggests, transformative leadership generates changes, transforms the structure and experience of the organization from the ground up.

This concept began more or less in 1973, by James V. Downton, a sociologist famous for his research on leadership. Years later, this definition expanded towards concepts that emphasize the personal characteristics of the leader, their projection, and both inter and intra-personal skills to generate changes. But, how does it differ from leadership styles such as motivational or helmsman, by Goleman?

The ABC of Transformative Leaders

  • One of its bases is making new ideas and possibilities a reality. Basically, materializing and giving shape to projects and concepts related to the organization that do not yet have their parcel in the real world
  • It focuses on how things are done and how changes are gestated. For this, it trains and mentors employees. It empowers them to make decisions and work autonomously.
  • A transformative leader is very clear about their core values: authenticity, cooperation, and open and assertive communication
  • They understand the importance of the organization’s culture and therefore promote interest and cohesion towards the goals and among teams within the organizational culture. This is achieved by not neglecting the values and priorities of the group
  • Like a coach leader, it aims to generate motivation and facilitate the development of all the positive aspects of people, also helping to improve difficulties.

We’re talking benefits

As you can imagine, transformative leadership is an ideal tool for working on a lot of things in the organization. In addition, it intrinsically carries a series of positive consequences of its implementation

  • It fundamentally affects the culture of the organization, having the capacity to mutate it. Thus, it generates changes in what not only the work carried out in the organization means but also its values and therefore, its identity
  • It is closely linked to satisfaction since it not only generates motivation and therefore, engagement, but also improves factors as important as the work climate, the efficacy perceived by employees, or the reinforcement and culture of feedback.
  • It’s a trump card for organizations to be prepared for all changes. The digital age, teleworking, globalization… all are new challenges for which we need a figure to guide us, and transformative leadership is all set to be that beacon