Being in a leadership position can be somewhat like riding a rollercoaster – there are twists, turns, surprises, and quite a few bumps along the way. Though it would certainly be easy to lead in a completely predictable environment, it’s more often the case that leaders must maintain their effectiveness during relatively tumultuous and uncertain times. In today’s environment, competitive forces are stronger than ever and organizations (and importantly, their leaders) must find ways to not only maintain their competitive advantage, but also to reduce the stress and strain felt by their employees in the process. Some styles of leadership are more consistent with this goal than others.

The Makings of a Transformational Leader

Transformational leaders, in particular, are regarded for their ability to create positive environments by charismatically offering their followers:

  • Individualized consideration Transformational leaders are more likely to identify subordinates’ strengths and weaknesses, and offer them assignments consistent with their personal goals.
  • Inspirational motivation They tend to communicate a compelling vision, engaging others in a way that drives enthusiasm.
  • Intellectual stimulation As well, they encourage followers to challenge the status quo, speak up, and openly share ideas.

Put plainly, transformational leaders have a solid people-focus that facilitates their ability to drive strong results through an organization (through good times and bad).

The “How” Behind a Transformational Leader’s Skills

Transformational leaders thrive in difficult times by converting crises into developmental challenges to promote adaptive solutions and encourage problem-solving. For example, they reduce feelings of helplessness among their team by looking beyond their own self-interest and stimulating an environment of respect and trust. In effect, they focus on finding the silver lining and then articulate a compelling vision of the future, emitting optimism and enthusiasm about getting there.

Download this one pager on Transformational leadership behaviors to learn more about how to lead through uncertainty.

Tell us in the comments about a leader whom you feel is particularly transformational. What sets them apart from their peers?