The concept of transformational leadership was first introduced by political scientist James MacGregor Burns in his 1978 book Leadership. MacGregor Burns has since become a widely cited expert in the fields of business and organizational psychology. In short, according to Wedell French in his 2012 book Organization Development and Transformation, transformational leadership is the process by which leaders encourage greater levels of motivation, empowerment, morality and achievement amongst their workforce.
In this article, I’ll give you some insight into Individual Transformation and Professional Leadership Transformation.
Nowadays, transformation is a popular term in business, leadership and coaching circles. Due to the increasing popularity of the word transformation, we can lose touch with its true meaning and use it to describe something it is not. When the words ‘change’ and ‘transformation’ are used interchangeably, for instance. We make changes all the time to the way we look, think, feel and act. But when we purposefully determine a course of action to learn or grow – whether it’s to communicate better, to manage our emotions more effectively or to be a better friend or partner – we will do more than merely grow and change, we transform.
All transformation is change, but not all change is transformation
Undergoing an Individual Transformation is the most difficult and rewarding investment you’ll ever make. There are times when we are blessed to have life hand us transformative events and other times when we have to instigate the transformation ourselves. Either way, a transformative event stretches you, tests your limits and – when done right – results in a better, more well-rounded you. It rewrites your reality.
Again, transformation is different from change. Change is simpler and more direct. Change is staying within your safe lane, while transformation transgresses your current reality, it redefines how you see the world and your role in it.
Transform and attract
To transform, you need to respect the basics. The basics demand an active and high-intensity state of mind and body (a lot of which relates to our core biology), combined with a real hunger for a real overhaul and the discipline to really dig in and do the work. When you are in this state, you need to focus on getting back to your ‘original self’, the authentic you. Actively peel back the layers of who you are today, how you became like this (programmed yourself), what your current standards and patterns are, and which ones are working for or against you.
It’s easier and more logical to redefine your life’s vision, interests, beliefs, mission and future goals from a state of complete authenticity and honesty. It also opens you up to the Law of Attraction.
The literature states that by opening yourself up and actively voicing your goals and wishes, you will attract the right people and get the right insights to create or grab new opportunities. They will gravitate towards you automatically, because of your authenticity, focus and mindset. You’ll get what you want and are happy.
The time is now
My feet are firmly planted on the ground and my head’s nowhere near the clouds – I’m a realist. That being said, I have experienced transformation and the resulting attraction of good things in my life firsthand. I did not have the most privileged start in life, so I had to work and think smart to achieve professional and personal successes, and, ultimately, a happy life.
The happiness didn’t last, however. After only a couple of years, due to success, I became sloppy, neglecting the basics. I slowly started to make wrong decisions and things start to pile up. I was drifting further away from my successes and happy life, and I was not ‘on top of things’ anymore. I recognized that I was not utilizing my full potential to become the leader and entrepreneur that I knew I could be and wanted to become. This made me realize that I needed to transform myself. And I did. It was the best decision I ever made. The first question I asked myself was:
“Am I doing the right thing? Or am I only thinking that I’m doing the right thing?”
Finding the answer to this question, together with a lot more introspective exploring, got me back to my authentic self. I now see myself and the world I am living in completely clearly. I feel balanced and am at peace with myself. I have more intellectual and executional capacity than I could ever imagine. After transforming, I started excelling professionally and attracting new experiences and opportunities on a daily basis. They come to me in all ways, shapes and forms, from the most unexpected places.
You can literally transform yourself in any phase of your life. The time is now.
It takes hard work to look inside and fully examine yourself. That’s why transformation is only for people that have the courage, perseverance, discipline and focus to fully commit and take ownership of their future.
Identifying and examining standards and patterns that aren’t working for you anymore can be a confronting, and even daunting, experience. This makes that your subconscious mind resistant to transformation. Your subconscious mind will throw every psychological trick in the book at you, from old doubts to cultural conditioning and from big scary assumptions to deep-rooted fears, in order to keep running on the semi-safe emotional ‘programs’ you have built.
There are two important fears that make people hesitant about introspection, decision making and transformation: the fear of losing affection and of the fear of losing certainty.
These fears have been with you since infancy, which means that they are deeply ingrained in your subconscious and aren’t meant to be underestimated. It takes courage and determination to rewrite these programs and patterns in the narrative you want. You may need to make some tough decisions. But once you face your deepest fears, you will be able to transform and reshape your life and become who you’re meant to be.
When you are able to take that first step outside your comfort zone, you will experience what the world has to offer by way of new perspectives, opportunities and rewarding realities.
Professional Leadership Transformation
Einstein famously said: “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.”
To transform yourself as a leader, you will have to build more leadership capacity. This is not just about learning some new skills and techniques. It requires you to reflect on who you are as a human being (and therefore become an even better one). This includes examining your belief systems and assumptions, and increasing your self-awareness, which will leave you more mindful and introspective, while at the same time allowing you to think and act on a higher level of complexity.
I empower executives to transform into dynamic and authentic leaders that can easily keep up with modern times, digital and technological developments, new-generation employees entering the workforce, volatility in the market and changes within the organization.
For me, Transformational Leadership Coaching is the art of helping my clients grow in line with their ‘authentic’ ambitions, beyond their current reality, towards their new, evolved vision and self.
I help leaders and managers successfully transform from: