When you think of great leadership, you probably think about how you can become a great leader yourself. There are habits of a great leader, and there are secrets to success in leadership. However, I want to share with you a different perspective on transformational leadership that ' essential in your path to greatness.
Great leadership is not about you. It's not about your results, nor is it about creating the next big unicorn idea that changes the world. Great leaders inspire others to transform their thinking so they can grow. In other words, it's about the impact you have on others.
Transformational leadership means that you are a catalyst to grow the team from the inside out. In order to be a transformational leader, you want to have a deep understanding of yourself and how your identity drives your behavior.
You must also be able to engage others into shifts of their identity, too. This usually happens with my team in one-on-one conversations about their fears and doubts in their work.
I treat these conversations more like a coaching session than a meeting to delegate new tasks, which makes my team feels appreciated. This results in a shift in their confidence, courage and commitment.
Confidence is essential to great leadership. In my journey as a leader of multiple companies and more than $40 million in revenue over the years, I've led over 100 employees. I've struggled with my own confidence developing new strategies that pushed me out of my comfort zone. My employees saw the stress it caused. Often, they would learn from me overcoming my own fears -- and apply that confidence to their projects.
As the leader of others, you want an unwavering confidence in yourself. Your team is only able to grow as fast as their confidence grows. You want to have conversations about failure and what they are learning. You want to discover their limiting beliefs and help them reshape their confidence so that they can evolve too.
Leaders who are confident are perceived to know what they are doing. Leaders that inspire confidence in others are seen as great leaders.
Courage in leadership is a requirement. The tough conversations take courage. The strategies to do what has never been done also takes massive courage.
One of the greatest leaders of all time, Nelson Mandela, led the world to think differently about themselves and understood courage. Richard Stengel worked closely with Mandela on his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, and wrote a TIME story in 2008 about Mandela on a flight of a small plane where an engine failed.
The other passengers began to panic, yet Mandela was calmly reading the newspaper. Upon landing and getting into the car to drive away, Mandela shared his fears with Stengel about the flight. It was obvious that the others needed to see the courage of Mandela, so they would not be scared.
Great leaders know how to get others to be courageous in times of need. This means that when you are courageous, you are showing your employees how to be courageous too.
Commitment to a goal or to a person will always have an emotional component. You don't fully commit to working out of responsibility. When I work with leaders on more effective leadership, they rarely understand the value of getting an emotional commitment to a project.
But nearly every conversation about leadership has a connection to employee engagement. Recently, I talked with Kevin Kruse, founder of online learning platform LeadX and author of Employee Engagement 2.0. "Employee engagement happens when everyone -- leaders and employees alike -- care about the goals," he told me.
But even when everyone really cares about the mission, it doesn't mean they feel happy. Sometimes staying in line with the mission can be tiring and stressful. "The type of commitment we are talking about is the commitment that goes beyond the paycheck," Kruse explained.
When you shift an employees' commitment to their work, it is truly a sign of remarkable leadership. Because the more the employees learn to commit to their work or their personal development, that is where they grow.
When you create an environment where others are able to transform their thinking, you're becoming a great leader. Yes, it takes an evolved leader to make this happen. It takes a desire to give to others in a way they can grow into being a leader, too.