Transforming Leadership is Everything

"Men make history, and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better."
Harry S. Truman, 33rd US President
1884 - 1972

Transforming Leadership is Everything!

Leadership: The activity of leading; the position of office of a leader; an act or instance of leading, guidance, direction; ability to lead; the function of a leader.

Transforming Leadership is Everything!

Before you assume that this information does not apply to you because you think you are not a leader, let me suggest that everyone is a leader at some level. From CEO of a Fortune 500 company, to parenting, to leading your own life, the principles and skills are the same. Without Transforming Leadership Skills, organizational and personal success levels will be compromised.
Leadership is lacking across almost all cultures and countries at all levels of our lives. This is very frustrating for many of us.

Here are a few examples of lack of leadership.

- Parents who will not or cannot discipline or lead their children
- Organizations that play to the politically correct agenda, rather than having the courage to do what is required for success
- Special-interest and lobby groups getting special treatment
- HR departments who play not to lose, rather than playing to win
- Union members unwilling to stand up against poor union leadership
- Political leaders unable to make difficult or unpopular decisions
- Leaders who make it all about themselves, instead of the institution they are serving

And on it goes . . .

In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins confirmed that the most successful organizations have what he calls Level 5 Leaders.

Before I outline these skills and attributes, here are a couple of examples of leadership in motion.

- Four years ago, the private school my kids were attending was struggling. It was losing students to other schools; there was infighting among society members; the financial statement was in the red.

That all changed in just a couple of years after 80% of the board was replaced. Within weeks of that election, a new style of leadership -- Transforming Leadership -- was established

Don’t misunderstand. The previous board members were well meaning and had a strong commitment to the success of the school, but they lacked Transforming Leadership Skills. It was hard for them to make difficult decisions, such as reducing staff and holding faculty and society members accountable for their conduct. Their power-brokering and self-centeredness shifted the energy toward each other instead of on the operational issues of the school.

The school is now enjoying growth in a very positive and student-focused environment. (I am one of the new board members.)

What changed? The leadership style!

- In the second example, one of our clients is going through the process of merging with another organization to create a billion-dollar operation. But it was the leadership of the CEO that made this opportunity happen. Initially, the board members of the two organizations were not open to the idea of a merger. They looked at all the things that could go wrong and did not have the courage to make the hard decisions. Only the leadership shown by the CEO caused this opportunity to come to fruition.

What is Transforming Leadership?

- Transforming Leaders get results and are catalysts to achieving results.
- They display a compelling modesty and are never boastful.
- They demonstrate an unwavering resolve to do whatever must be done to produce the best long-term results, no matter how difficult.
- They act with unassuming calm, yet reflect a confident determination.
- They take full responsibility for poor results, never blaming other people or external factors.
- They give credit for success to others, while setting up successors for even greater success.
- They know who they are and where they are going; they are personally and professionally on purpose.
- They get the right people on the team to build a superior lineup.
- They are passionate about what they are doing.
- They set and keep values and inspired standards to motivate, not ego or charisma.
- They confront the brutal facts of the current reality, whatever that might be.
- They and the team retain absolute faith that they can and will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties.
- They communicate clearly and effectively to all levels of the organization.
- They hold everyone accountable for their respective results and role in the success of the company.
- They understand the what, when, why, and how of available resources, such as knowing how technology can serve the organization to achieve its results.
- They embrace an organizational and professional work culture of discipline and remove any team member who does not adhere to this value.

It takes many components to make a successful leader but the foregoing list outlines some of the primary skills and attributes of a Transforming and Level 5 Leader.

Remember: These principles apply to family situations and small associations, just as much as they do to large corporations.

Leadership that is effective and that gets results does not happen by accident or without courage.

What type of leader are you?

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