Transformation means in essence changing formation, changing shape.

However, we all know that we can change our shape while battling our internal dialogue about change. We change but we still cling to the familiar or we change and still stay in victim mode, saying “how hard it is.”

And when we say its hard, we make it hard. Because our words define our reality.

True Transformation takes place when we totally shift our identity to align with our values AND our consistent mindset and messaging.

So how do we translate personal transformation into transformational leadership?

Leadership expert James MacGregor Burns introduced the concept of Transformational Leadership in his 1978 book “Leadership”. He defined transformational leadership as a process where “leaders and their followers raise one another to higher levels of morality and motivation”.

Bernard Bass later developed the concept of Transformational Leadership further. According to his 1985 book “Leadership & Performance Beyond Expectation”, he explored the following key characteristics of a transformational leader as:

Values, integrity and fairness
Sets clear goals
Has high expectations
Encourages others
Provides support and recognition
Stirs the emotions of people
Gets people to look beyond their self interest
Inspires people to reach for the impossible

Key shifts in Transformational Leadership studies in this century have focused on two critical areas:

1. Visioning beyond goal – setting and

2. Understanding the often-complex emotions beneath the surface of consciousness. This means looking at people’s unconscious limiting beliefs and contradicting thoughts.

All of this drills down to a key factor specified by Bass – “stirring the emotions of people”.

It’s difficult to be a leader while only looking at logic. Recent studies in the last decade have all shown that people are more driven by imagination than by logic, by feelings, rather than facts.

So where does that lead us, as thought leaders, on Transformation?

It means that as leaders, we first and foremost have to work on ourselves, to dig deep, to uncover our limiting beliefs and our unconscious language. It’s not always easy, but it is a game changer.

That is true transformation.

Alison Weihe

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