Welcome to an enlightening exploration of transformational leadership, a concept that holds the key to unlocking unparalleled growth and dynamism within any team or organization. Transformational leadership transcends traditional leadership models by prioritizing motivation, inspiration, and long-term development over mere transactional exchanges. This leadership style is characterized by its foundational pillars: inspirational motivation, idealized influence, individualized consideration, and intellectual stimulation.
In today’s rapidly evolving world, the need for leaders who can inspire and innovate has never been more pressing. By communicating a compelling vision and leading with integrity, transformational leaders can ignite a sense of purpose and drive among their followers. They provide individualized support and foster environments where team members feel psychologically safe to share ideas and take risks. This approach not only boosts employee engagement and satisfaction but also cultivates a culture of continuous improvement and adaptation.
Furthermore, transformational leadership empowers team members to grow into future leaders themselves, enhancing problem-solving capabilities and fostering a culture of continuous learning and creativity. It is through this process that organizations can achieve sustainable success and stay ahead of the curve in an increasingly competitive landscape.
By embracing the principles of transformational leadership, today’s leaders can navigate the complexities of the modern workplace, driving both personal and organizational excellence. So, join us as we delve into the core components of transformational leadership and discover how it can transform your leadership journey and elevate your team’s performance to new heights.

Timestamped Overview

  • 00:00 Importance of Transformational Leadership in Managerial Skills
  • 04:16 Bass expanded Burns’ transformational leadership with 4 components.
  • 09:27 Inspiring vision drives motivation and global impact.
  • 11:51 Inspirational squadron leader stresses clear vision.
  • 16:23 Encourage open communication, understanding, and connectivity.
  • 17:37 Create safe space, recognize, celebrate, enable growth.
  • 20:51 Leaders create intellectual stimulation to promote innovation.
  • 25:55 Bookmark for future reference: Vision, integrity, and team trust.
  • 28:18 Develop team potential, use various leadership styles.

Reflection Questions

Here are the five different reflection questions which were mentioned:

  • Vision and Inspiration

    • Do I consistently articulate a clear, compelling vision for the future that inspires and motivates my team?
  • Role Modeling and Integrity

    • Do I demonstrate ethical behavior and integrity in all my actions, earning the trust and respect of my team members?
  • Individualized Support

    • How often do I provide personalized attention and support to each team member, understanding their unique needs and helping them grow?
  • Encouraging Innovation

    • Do I actively encourage innovation and creativity within my team, challenging the status quo and fostering a culture of continuous improvement?
  • Empowerment and Development

    • Am I committed to developing the leadership potential of my team members, empowering them to take on new challenges and responsibilities?
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The following is an AI generated transcript which should be used for reference purposes only. It has not been verified or edited to reflect what was actually said in the podcast episode. 


Scott McCarthy [00:00:00]:
Alright. You asked for it. I’m bringing it. Today, we’re gonna be tackling the idea of transformational leadership and what does it mean to be a transformational leader. In order to do this, we’re gonna have to understand what it is and where it came from and what makes up being a transformational leader. Might throw in a couple real life examples for you in there as well as maybe maybe a way for you to consider whether you’re hitting some of those check marks. Alright, ladies and gentlemen. You’re ready for this? Alright.

Scott McCarthy [00:00:38]:
Let’s do it.

Scott McCarthy [00:00:48]:
Welcome 1. Welcome all to the Peak Performance Leadership Podcast, a weekly podcast series dedicated to helping you hit peak performance across the 3 domains of leadership. Those being leading yourself, leading your team, and leading your organization. This podcast couples my 20 years of military experience as a senior Canadian army officer with world class guests to bring you the most complete podcast of leadership going. And for more, feel free to check out our website atmovingforwardleadership.com. And with that, let’s get to the show.

Scott McCarthy [00:01:31]:
Yes. Welcome 1. Welcome all to the Peak Performance Leadership Podcast. It is your chief leadership officer, Scott McCarthy, and thanks for tuning in to yet another episode because I know you it’s not your first time most likely. And if it is your first time, you know what? Welcome. Thanks for finding us. Thanks for finding what I consider to be the best leadership podcast going because we bring you real world things and I don’t do it from a place of I know it all but rather I too am seeking the answers because we can never know it all, ladies and gentlemen. And today, we’re gonna be tackling the topic of transformational leadership.

Scott McCarthy [00:02:17]:
What does it mean to be a transformational leader? Now, just a quick background on where this actual episode comes from. I went ahead and threw it in our Facebook group, leadership skills for managers who want to be leaders and not bosses, and you can just check that out easy by going to lead dump boss.comforward/group. Alright. And I threw in there. I said, hey, folks. Kicking off the podcast. What are some topics that you want to see? And lo and behold, this 1 popped up, transformational leadership and I was like, oh, that is a good 1. We haven’t actually talked about transformational leadership on the show yet whatsoever, and thanks to you, Santee, for throwing that option up in the first place.

Scott McCarthy [00:03:18]:
Alright. So here it is. Let’s dive into transformational leadership. Let’s talk about what it is, where it came from in the 1st place and transformational leadership seems to be getting or gotten really a lot of movement, I’ll say, past, 10, maybe 15 years, but the reality is the idea of transformational leadership goes back to James MacGregor Burns. James MacGregor Burns wrote a book simply titled Leadership and that book was published in 1978. So we’re talking 50 years almost now of the idea of transformational leadership. James went and just kinda started it. Now, it was just kind of the catalyst.

Scott McCarthy [00:04:16]:
It wasn’t the full deal per se. It wasn’t fully fleshed out. So in 1985, a gentleman by the name of Bernard Bass came by, and he went further and truly took Burns’ idea of transformational leadership and expanded on it. And to Bass, he identified 4 components of it, which we’re going to get into in a little bit. So Bass identifies 4 components of transformational leadership, which truly set the tone and set the framework for the great leaders that we have today that are been deemed to be transformational leaders. And as we go through these 4 different components, I’ll be identifying some examples for you, which no doubt you’ll go, uh-huh. Yep. Got it.

Scott McCarthy [00:05:20]:
That makes sense. So when we think of transformational leadership, a lot of people think of, you know, changing things and being adaptive, but it’s so much more than that. You see, traditional transactional leadership focuses on exchanges for performance. I do something good. My supervisor rewards me. I mess up. My supervisor punishes me. Now this type of leadership has its time in place.

Scott McCarthy [00:05:59]:
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve said on the show many times, the only style the best style of leadership is this style that’s required for that moment based on the situation in front of you as a leader. See? Transformational leadership isn’t the end all be all. Newsflash. So sorry. I should have said spoiler alert earlier. The thing with transactional leadership is that it gets you results quickly. Sometimes not for the greatest reasons, especially if you use intimidation tactics with your people, which is not something I recommend, but it does get you results much quicker.

Scott McCarthy [00:06:43]:
That being said, when we go in the transformational side, that gives you longer lasting results. And the longer lasting results, that’s what matters. That’s what gets you the goods. That there is what motivates, inspires, and drives your people to do better. So let’s dive into these 4 components, shall we? 4 components of transformational leadership. Those 4 components are inspirational motivation, idealized influence, individualized consideration, intellectual intellectual stimulation intellectual stimulation, I should say. These are the 4 components. So what do they actually mean? Let’s dive into them a little bit deeper.

Scott McCarthy [00:07:46]:
So let’s take inspirational motivation. You’ve heard of it so many times. You as a leader, you need to have a vision. Well, when you have vision, it’s useless to keep it to yourself. You have to bring that vision to the forefront. You have to motivate your people, incite inspiration in your people with that vision. And that vision has to align with the values and the aspirations of the followers, the people that are with you. So if you have a vision of becoming the world’s largest organization, largest company, you wanna beat Tesla, Apple, Microsoft.

Scott McCarthy [00:08:51]:
You wanna beat all those big guys, Amazon. You want to be the biggest. Yet, the people who you’ve hired are all like, we enjoy the flexibility of being small. We enjoy the flexibility of just being able to do whatever we want and not to worry. And you know what? We’re happy. We’re happy being this small, medium sized company. That’s not aligning with the values and aspirations of the followers. Now 1 could say you don’t have the right followers.

Scott McCarthy [00:09:27]:
Right? So you have to develop this vision, and you have to communicate some vision in a way that drives inspiration to the people you’re trying to motivate. We’ve all, no doubt, heard Martin Luther King’s speech of I have a dream. Right? That is inspirational motivation. He’s touching out to the African American community that they too can have equal rights as their Caucasian parts. If you look at Steve Jobs and his vision for Apple to be a simple platform that enables anybody to use it and be able to put a device in anybody’s hands and enable them to use said device. And now said device are in billions of people’s hands worldwide. You have Elon Musk who wants to put someone on Mars, and they’re going after it. No doubt.

Scott McCarthy [00:10:50]:
Recruiting the best people. Why? Because he has that vision and that goal. So how do you as a leader go and enact inspirational motivation? You need to communicate your vision clearly and passionately. You have to be excited yourself and passionate yourself about the vision because people will doubt you. And if you don’t come across yourself as believing in your vision, then your followers aren’t gonna believe neither. And this is not a 1 and done neither, folks. This is not a simple I’ll I’ll put it on the email, and we’re good to go. This is something you need to communicate all the time.

Scott McCarthy [00:11:51]:
As a squadron commander of 200 members, I wanted our people to believe that we were the best logistics squadron in the country. That was my vision, and that is the story I told them over and over and over again. Right? And it got to the point where they were basically sick of it, but that’s what we needed. We need to communicate that vision clearly. We need to be passionate about it because that is what insights the inspiration and motivation within our people. And if you wanna double down with that, invoke storytelling with them to mostly connect with them. Talk about why it means so much, this vision to you. Perhaps it’s your father or mother’s legacy.

Scott McCarthy [00:12:54]:
Maybe you’re honoring a relative friend. Maybe you want to end poverty or hunger. Maybe you just wanna make a bunch of other people rich around you. I don’t know. I’m not going to judge. But the moral of the story is you want to use the story to connect with people so they can see and feel and hear that vision with you. That’s inspirational motivation. 2nd part of transformational leadership is ideal influence.

Scott McCarthy [00:13:28]:
This is where you’re acting as a role model. You’re demonstrating ethical behavior and integrity regardless what’s in front of you No matter what, you lead by example. All your actions, all your decisions. Thinking of Mandela, his perseverance and moral authority being locked up, Gandhi’s commitment to nonviolence and justice. I know these seem to be big examples. How would the manager who uses their leave when they could easily just walked out for the day? No 1 wouldn’t know. That’s integrity there. Making a mistake in front of your people saying, my apologies.

Scott McCarthy [00:14:24]:
I messed up, and here’s what I’m going to do to fix it. You’re building trust by being consistent and transparent with everything you do. I talk about transparency as a value of mine, a core value of mine, and this is why. I’m trying to show people and lead by example and influence them, and this is the way that I need them to operate, act, and think. Lead by example at all times. Think everything you do, every action you make, every decision you take, think of it as if every single 1 of your people are watching you because you know what? Regardless if they’re there or not, they are. So act in this way, and you’ll achieve that ideal influence. The next component of transformational leadership is individualized consideration.

Scott McCarthy [00:15:38]:
It’s where you take time to provide personalized attention and support to your people. Give them time to come see you and talk to you. Listen to their needs. It can’t be a 1 way street. You cannot be there taking, taking, taking, taking. You have to give, especially in this day and age. You have to give just as much as your people take or you take from your people, I should say. K? It has to be a 2 way street because if it’s a 1 way street, they’re gonna eventually pack up their bags and head on out.

Scott McCarthy [00:16:23]:
So make sure it’s a 2 way street of that understanding, communication, and connection. So what are some simple ways that you can easily, you know, give that end of July’s consideration to your people? It’s like having regular 1 on ones with them. But it’s more than just having the 1 on ones. It’s giving them the space to bring up different things, whatever it is that they need to talk about, to be able to talk about it. If they have a problem at home, allow them to talk about that problem at home. If they’re facing an issue at work and they need to bounce ideas off of somebody, enable them to do that with you without being judgmental of their performance. Sometimes we just need to talk things through. And when you’re the leader of an organization, it’s sometimes hard, especially if their peers don’t have the same problems, different responsibilities, different problem sets, and so on.

Scott McCarthy [00:17:37]:
Create that psychologically safe space for them so that then they’re enabled to come and have true conversations with you. Recognize them and celebrate their individual achievements. K? Maybe it’s team achievements as well. For example, upcoming, my my team and I, we will have a group meeting every 2 weeks. And starting in August, I’m gonna start asking him, okay. Before you you first thing when you start talking, I wanna know what your win of the week is. Why? Because we spend these meetings focusing on problems and, you know, things that are going wrong and things we need to fix. Let’s take a breath, shall we, and actually look at what we’re doing right and celebrate that.

Scott McCarthy [00:18:41]:
K? Think about those things and how you can implement them in your daily work, your daily leadership. It’s individualized consideration. And then finally, the word I was having trouble say earlier, intellectual stimulation. Leaders encourage innovation and creativity. K? We need to encourage that, and you can’t be seen as the 1 who thinks they have all the answers. I’ve said it, I don’t know how many times in the podcast now, many times. Your job as a leader is not to know everything. You don’t have all the right answers.

Scott McCarthy [00:19:27]:
Your job as a leader is to ask the right questions. By asking the right questions, you’re going to encourage that creativity. You’re going to stimulate your people. You’re gonna enable them to bring ideas forward, which in turn will encourage that in innovation. Spark that creativity. Get them thinking. Don’t accept the status quo. Oh, it’s always been done that way.

Scott McCarthy [00:19:57]:
That’s a lazy way of doing it. Do you know what other companies have said that? Blockbuster, Kodak, BlackBerry, list goes on. These companies barely, if they even still exist today. It’s challenging the status quo is a must. We need to keep critically thinking. We need to enable experimentation and not slap, but condone and encourage risk taking. Enable your people to think outside the box and bring these new ideas forward. Break down barriers, build new capabilities.

Scott McCarthy [00:20:51]:
You see, these are the ways that an organization move forward. And you, as a leader, by doing these things, you’re going to create that intellectual stimulation, which will turn in turn, enable your people to bring the great ideas forward. I know Google used to have a policy where they let people work for a certain amount of time on anything they wanted to. That was that intellectual stimulation right there baked directly into the corporation itself. Fortunately, I know you’re what you’re thinking. They since canceled said policy, which I’d like to see the results of that. I don’t know what was behind that 1 because Google isn’t known to be a corporation, or I should say, Alphabet. It’s known to be a corporation all about intellectual stimulation and innovation and creativity.

Scott McCarthy [00:21:54]:
So I digress. So those are the 4 components, inspirational motivation, thinking of Martin Luther King, Steve Jobs, ideologicalized influence, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Individual consideration, making your people feel seen, heard, valued, and intellectual stimulation, getting those gears going. Those are the 4 components that make up transformational leadership. Now you’re probably thinking, oh, so what? Like, transformational leadership. Who cares? Transaction is better. Get more things done. So let’s talk about some benefits as we slowly wind down the show quickly. Let’s talk about some organizational benefits.

Scott McCarthy [00:22:55]:
You’re actually gonna get increased employment employee engagement and motivation. When your people feel valued and empowered and they actually feel connected to work to get a higher level of job satisfaction. And most importantly, in this day and age, commitment. How many people are flush peep how many organizations are flush people right now? Doors are closed. Not that many. Commitment of your people to organization is crucial. And then that drives what? That drives performance and productivity because you don’t have the churn and turnover and burnout. And all these problems with lack of staff cause commitment to the organization.

Scott McCarthy [00:23:52]:
On the personal side, you’re going to grow your followers into leaders. You’re gonna nurture their leadership potential. Why? Because end of the day, you’re gonna leave that job. You’re gonna leave that position, that post, whatever it is, and someone’s gonna replace you. Would you not rather have someone who has the same ideas and values as you? Someone internal to your organization, most likely, by someone who doesn’t? Think about that. The encouragement for personal and professional growth of transformational leaders eclipses all other leadership types. And with that, you enable enhanced problem solving, critical thinking skills of your people. So suddenly, they’re not coming to you with all the problems anymore.

Scott McCarthy [00:24:56]:
They’re able to figure things out on their own. That leaves you to be able to do your job. Just think strategic. So keep those things in mind. Now as you consider this and everything I’ve just talked about, reflect back reflect back on how much of a transformational leader are you? Couple questions for you to ponder right now. So what I want you to do as I say these questions, I’ll read them out twice each 1. 1st time, free to hear it all, and the second time to really absorb. After each 1, hit pause on the podcast and actually take a moment to consider it before hitting play.

Scott McCarthy [00:25:55]:
And if you’re doing something or whatever, no big deal, just bookmark this section or come back to this episode later. Or in fact, check out the show notes because they’ll be there. Alright. Question 1 is, do I consistently articulate a clear, compelling vision for the future that inspires and motivates my team? Say again, question 1. Do I consistently articulate a clear and compelling vision for the future that inspires and motivates my team? Question 2. Do I demonstrate ethical behavior and integrity in all my actions, earning the trust and respect of my team members? Do I demonstrate an ethical behavior integrity in all my actions, earning the trust and respect of my team members? That’s question 2. Hit pause. Think about it.

Scott McCarthy [00:27:03]:
Question 3. How often do I provide personalized attention and support to each team member, understanding their unique needs and helping them grow. How often do I provide personalized attention and support to each team member, understanding their unique needs and helping them grow? Question 3, pause and think about it. Moving on. Question 4, do I actively encourage innovation and creativity with in my team? Challenging the status quo and fold fostering a culture of continuous improvement. Do I actively encourage innovation and creativity within my team, challenging the status quo and fostering a culture of continuous improvement. Hit pause. Have a think of that.

Scott McCarthy [00:28:18]:
And finally, am I committed to developing the leadership potential of my team members, empowering them to take on new challenges and responsibilities? Am I committed to developing the leadership potential of my team members, empowering them to take on new challenges and responsibilities? That’s question 5. Have to think of it. So hopefully, you do take some time to reflect there on those questions about transformational leadership. And as we wrap up here on today’s episode, I will state the final thing and that is, you know, as I said in the show earlier, it’s not the end all be all. Sometimes, you need to go on the transactional rep, and that’s okay. Ultimately, as a leader, you need to understand what style to employ, when to employ it to get the results that you need to get at that time. Okay. As the old saying goes, if the only tool you got into your toolbox is a hammer and then everything is gonna look like a nail.

Scott McCarthy [00:29:38]:
This is just another tool for you in your toolbox. So hopefully, this helps you out. Let me know. Drop me some feedback and feel free to, you know, provide any suggestions on any topics you would like to hear in the future. That’s it for me today folks. It’s always lead don’t boss. We’ll see you next time. Take care now.

Scott McCarthy [00:30:04]:
And that’s a wrap for this episode, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for listening. Thank you for supporting the Peak Performance Leadership podcast. But you know what you could do to truly support the podcast and know that’s not leaving a rating and review? It’s simply helping a friend, and that is helping a friend by sharing this episode with them. If you think this would resonate with them and help them elevate their performance level, whether that’s within themselves, their teams, or their organization. So do that. Help me, help a friend, win win all around, and hey, you look like a great friend at the same time. So just hit that little share button on your app and then feel free to fire this episode to anyone that you feel would benefit from it.

Scott McCarthy [00:30:54]:
Finally, there’s always more. There’s always more lessons around being the highest performing leader that you can possibly be, whether that’s for yourself, your team, or your organization. So why don’t you subscribe? Subscribe to the show via movingforwardleadership.comforward/subscribe. Until next time, lead, don’t boss, and thanks for coming out. Take care now.