October 18, 2017

The presence needed for transformational leadership

Two business peopleTransformational leadership i.e. leadership that truly brings out the best in people in a sustainable way requires presence, or rather being present. We need to be involved and connected.

On the other hand…

Transactional leadership that seeks to manage performance just through governance of one kind and another can be conducted in a distant, aloof manner.

In fact…

Distance and aloofness more or less guarantees that the management style can only be transactional because there is no opportunity for a community of trust to develop, and so no opportunity for selfless behaviour to build. And so not much initiative is taken.

Seems obvious when you think about it.

If you want transformation and self-organisation, you might have to live the journey too. You might have to be present—not necessarily active, but definitely present.

What lies between leading and following?

Informal meetingFor some time I have been puzzled about this…

When is it best to seek to lead and when is it best to follow?

That’s an important choice to make in any situation, or so it appears.

But here’s the thing…

When people are really “in the zone” together, for example in a well-performing team, leading and following are happening at the same time with essentially everyone influencing everyone else. But we don’t really have a word for that.

Or do we?

The conundrum of leading or following seems hard to solve until you realize the resolution is simply to be present and connected, without need of the situation.

So between leading and following, lies simply…

Being present.