First be a leader of yourself. Only then can you grow to lead others.”

— David Taylor-Klaus

Transformational leadership means taking your leadership to the next level. What do I mean by “moving up a level”? It means challenging yourself to be a leader and thinking about where you are now and where you need to go.

We don’t stop learning. We don’t stop trying to master things. We need to master ourselves to manage the environment around us.

“Mastering others is strength; mastering oneself is true power”

— Lao Tsu

Transformation begins with ourselves. Because we are learning new things, we must start by changing how we are. It does not imply entirely converting and changing oneself into a completely different person, but rather making ourselves better.

It’s about adapting to situations. When our weaknesses and blind spots affect everything else around us, like our relationships, roles, and decisions, we need to change and let go of things that aren’t helping us. We need to focus on ways to have a more significant impact.

“Clarifying your purpose as a leader is critical, but writing the statement is not enough. You must also envision the impact you’ll have on your world as a result of living your purpose. Your actions—not your words—are what really matter.” – From Purpose to Impact (HBR)

It’s not enough to start as a leader; you also need to change yourself and try to change the teams around you. It’s also a way of thinking, like being open, curious, and creative.

Transformational leadership means having all of a leader’s remarkable traits and values. If you can use these, you can identify what you need to focus on and become a good leader for your team and organization.

How is purpose used in transformational leadership?

“Because a true sense of purpose is deeply emotional, it serves as a compass to guide us to act in a way completely consistent with our values and beliefs. Purpose does not need to involve calculations or numbers. Purpose is about the quality of life. Purpose is human, not economic.”

— Simon Sinek

A sense of purpose should guide everyone. A purpose begins with why you do things the way you do them. 

  • Why are you in business?
  • Why are you in this organization?
  •  Why is this significant to you?

So, once you have that, you are solidly grounded in who you are. And as a leader, others must recognize your strength.

Your people must understand what you stand for. When you lead with purpose, it’s clear where you want to go. Because you can articulate your principles and what is most important to you, you can have a more significant influence.

People who see that in you will also want to be like that. Make sure that the way you lead and the way you are, your true self, is seen by others and that this true self is where you can be your best and not your worst.

How do you communicate your purpose for greater impact? 

Discussing your purpose with your team to get it across would be best. Tell your team what’s important to you and how that fits with the organization.

You must not only speak and think about it but also do it. Find ways to include the purpose in meetings, dialogues, and decision-making. Find strategies to have a more significant effect. The more deliberate you are, the greater your influence.

You must also understand the goals of your team members and your organization. All of these should be in sync. Everything should be linked.

How you model your purpose influences how your employees or team members perceive you daily – how they see you respond to things while communicating and how you think. They’ll notice specific patterns and recognize them.

Everything you do and think every day is a reflection of your purpose. It is critical to consider it every day. Reflect on how you fulfilled your purpose. If things go differently than planned, remind yourself there will be other opportunities tomorrow.