March 2020
To live or die: the dilemma of companies on leadership issues

Transformational leadership is the key tactic for the survival of fragile companies in these times of uncertainty.

A company stands out for its leadership

Transformational leadership is a key tactic to get organizations afloat in difficult times. There are periods or situations in which leaders are challenged to demonstrate what they are made of. They are required to reinvent themselves and become, more than ever, an influence and inspiration to their collaborators; characteristics that make up the transformational style.

But why can someone under this type of leadership make a difference in complicated scenarios? What qualifications should they have, and how to manage this style?

The concept was originated and introduced by James MacGregor Burns, and is defined as the type of leadership exercised with a strong vision and personality, in order to be able to change expectations, perceptions and motivations of the work team, as well as lead the change within an organization.

In short, we can say that it is the ability to encourage others to achieve comprehensive objectives based on guiding, inspiring and modeling by example, developing inclusive thinking in the person or work teams.

In uncertain scenarios, such as possible throughout political and economic changes, companies tend to have fragile environments that have an important impact on the motivation and even concentration of employees at all levels.

Also, one can experience a climate that is not focused on results and more concerned with understanding how the current conditions can be seen and how committed your future will be within the organization.

Faced with this unfavorable situation, any company, including the most solid, may suffer a strong shock, but it is the leader who is responsible for acting on time, reversing the situation and managing the organization in bad times.

Closeness, containment and inspiration: transformational qualities

His work in these scenarios should always be close to people, with a high level of listening and empathy, and with a genuine connection with talent to really be able to have the opportunity to direct and calm anxieties. Your communication processes must be much more proactive than reactive. In the same way, the leader must be very prepared, intellectually and academically, to understand how adversity will be dealt with and how to contain good or bad news.

Another fundamental characteristic is a positive attitude and with a high emotional intelligence, where instead of seeing obstacles, learn to see opportunities within not so clear horizons. Able to have and maintain an attitude above the line; that is, proactive rather than reactive, but above all it must be someone who has a very developed capacity for inspiration, containment and empathy.

Other features that must be present in a leader in the face of complicated times are humility and resilience. Humility in the aspect of understanding that many new questions will arise, where perhaps the answers are in the new generations.

We must have humility to be accompanied, as much as possible, by people who can complement us and help us to have a more comprehensive and successful strategic vision. And resilience to recover, overcome and adapt quickly to adversities.

While it is true, that in Mexico and Latin America, company leaders are used to leading under fragile economies and uncertain circumstances. However, that does not free them from feeling vulnerable to the complexities; it is right there, when the leader and all his emotional set must gain more strength to succeed.

Points in favor

As we can see, transformational leadership determines that for an organization to grow, it is necessary to maintain the motivation of all the parts that comprise it. Thus, it requires a closer push from the worker with less responsibility to the managers or owners of the company.

Some of the main advantages that it brings are: motivation, training and effective leadership. Motivate employees, give them confidence and make them participants in the company’s successes, increase their productivity and thus obtain better business results.

On the other hand, training them encourages the individual development of employees and constantly challenges them intellectually. And as for the effectiveness of the style, we can affirm that the leader ends up becoming a real reference for his collaborators, since he knows how to manage his team and make them grow through collective goals.

Opting for a leadership style that is not very close, with little listening and only giving instructions, can bring negative results. It can cause a loss of direction and that priorities are not worked on; that there is no focus on the important things and that a toxic work environment is present.

In short, a loss of talent can occur when the collaborator feels confused, having little clarity. The transformational leader must add to the strengths of his teammates in order to achieve a stronger core that allows him to keep his entire team focused, united and focused on any situation that may arise.

Leadership is key within companies

But how do we manage optimally and reduce uncertainty in the work team?

Understand how uncertainty will disturb. Analyze the changes that will be presented and the rules of the game; make a 360 analysis that allows for more clarity.

Define what the challenge will be. List the circumstances to face, what will be the consequences and implications of the changes that are coming.

Seek inspiration from other cases that have been similar. Today everything is documented, check what has been done in other ways to resolve these conflicts, even in other industries or other markets, this will save you time for action.

Structure a well informed and clear plan. Build the strategies that will allow you to face the circumstances.

Communicate and involve the team. Draw them and listen to them to be very close. Get them on board for the transformation process and make sure that the actions and plan are being carried out correctly and with the expected result. It is essential to constantly evaluate to determine the effectiveness of the strategy, and if necessary, change course.

Companies with satisfied employees

Finally, it is precisely these times of uncertainty, crisis and transformation that allow us to leave our comfort zone and develop skills that we may not have today, both as a leader and as a member of a team.

We must not be afraid of the changes, on the contrary, we must visualize them as a form of growth and challenge ourselves to be better professionals, but above all, understand that if we take it from the point of view of an opportunity, rather than a threat, the perks can be extraordinary. It is an opportunity to strengthen, discover new skills and aptitudes, but above all to work more as a team.

Qualities and skills of a transformational leader:

  • Close and with an open and direct communication for all its collaborators;
  • Positive and purposeful;
  • Humble and resilient;
  • Disruptive thinking and able to find new solutions;
  • Capable to adapt to any situation (flexible);
  • Able to generate strategic alliances and with high internal and external influence.

Ángeles Madrigal – INAC Mexico

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