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4 Essential Habits of Transformational Leaders

Close your eyes. Think about the best leader you’ve ever had or read about. Take a minute to consider what made that leader so great.

Whether you thought of Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, or your first manager, you were probably thinking of a transformational leader. This individual didn’t inspire you based on how they felt about themselves, they inspired you because of how they made you feel. You might have reflected on how they challenged you, motivated you, empowered you, and supported you to become your best self when you were with them. All in all, if you thought of a leader you worked with, you might conclude that they transformed you. And although their leadership qualities might have seemed to flow naturally from them, don’t be fooled, becoming a transformational leader isn’t easy. It requires intention, hard work, discipline, and a whole lot of emotional intelligence. The good news is, it’s possible. 

Here are some habits you can build to enhance your own transformational leadership skills:

Be self-aware

Transformational leaders thrive on personal growth and take time to reflect and set individual goals. They’ve identified their strengths and weaknesses and seek to understand their blind spots. Transformational leaders strive to become the best version of themselves both inside and outside of the organization.

Tell stories

Transformational leaders are master storytellers. They use their experiences to relate to and connect with their teams on a deeper level. They’ve learned when and how to use relevant stories to move people to action. Transformational leaders inspire through their words so that their team can become a part of the story alongside them.

Get in the game

Transformational leaders inspire not only with words but with action too. They help create and shape the vision and embody it with enthusiasm. They live out the organization’s values and show their team that they’re in the game with them. Transformational leaders aren’t sidelined coaches, they’re team players.

Find a fresh perspective

Transformational leaders ask questions, even if they’re a little terrified of the answer. They constantly look for new ways to innovate and create change, whether by reflecting introspectively or asking their teams for input. Transformational leaders don’t stick to the status quo; they challenge themselves to look at problems through a new lens every day. They ask, “What am I missing?”  and “How might I be wrong?”

Becoming a transformational leader requires dedication to your own purpose and mission, as well as the purpose and mission of the organization. Anyone can learn to lead, inspire, and motivate if they’re willing to put in the work. Setting aside time with your own coach or mentor to cultivate the habits of true transformational leadership can set you on a meaningful path of growth and impact. 

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Catherine Germinario

Partner

Over the past few years, Catherine gained experience ranging from human resources and program administration to the heart of any business, sales, and marketing. She quickly moved into multiple training and management roles, creating training material, building processes, and spearheading women-in-sales focus groups. At Optify, she focuses her efforts on business development and marketing campaigns as a thought leader to continue to expand outreach.

Catherine holds a Masters of Arts in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from Christopher Newport University with minors in Leadership and Communications. Catherine was also an avid member of the President’s Leadership Program and recipient of the Joann S. Squires Award for Industrial and Organizational Psychology in 2018.