What Makes a Transformational Leader?

Transformational Leader

A true leader can morph any negative situation in to a positive one.

Their mere presence can rearrange the scenery and, reignite the fire in the hearts of many. These very few individuals are transformational leaders. So what makes someone a transformational leader?

There are a several characteristics and traits, these candidates exhibit. 

  • Visionary – “When there is no vision, the people perish”. This proverbial idea is a certainty. A transformational leader has an idea, a vision or a prophecy that he desires to have everyone to buy in to. Starting with small and attainable goals, transformational leaders wish for their colleagues to see the big picture as they do. The small objectives are met, but are none the less essential for the progress of the team. Once the team tastes success, the dream becomes realistic. Results are achieved through prior effort and the vision becomes a tangible landmark that is no longer so faint in the distance.


  • Inspirational – “A leader is a dealer in hope” . Napoleon Bonaparte said it best. A transformational leader has the uncanny ability to inspire his fellows to perform at their best. A transformational leader, is essentially a motivator. Through his actions, charisma and passion, the potential of the team becomes kinetic by the energy he or she exudes. The best leaders will never lead you in to a situation that they would not lead themselves to. However, these motivators will escort you through adversity that may seem impossible to overcome. The key to remember is that leader knows that the ideal result is very much plausible.


  • Leads By Example -A transformational leader, leads by example. The values and ethics that he or she hopes to impose on his colleagues, they adhere to strictly. Transformational leaders rarely rescind their promises or go back on their word. They lead by example, avoiding double-standards and contradictory actions at all costs. It is this type of exemplary embodiment that persuades associates to buy in to the mission. The words of the transformational leader are met by action, and the action was not merely words. This is a resurgent reassurance when times get tough and the leader does not falter in his stance.


  • Team Player – “To lead is to serve”. Jesus Christ said those very words. This statement is the most authentic of all. A leader, and certainly a transformational leader is a humble servant to the fellowship he commands. A transformational leader takes the initiative and extra time to examine the strengths and weaknesses of his colleagues. Taking on a mentor role, the transformational leader works with his teammates to overcome their weaknesses. The best of this craft use the strengths of each member to quell their weaknesses. As a result, the abilities of each person are magnified and the skills they lack are vanquished in the same instance. Furthermore, this builds a positive rapport between the two. This relationship gains more equity and confidence is installed in both the leader and the teammate. Most importantly, a transformational leader that is a team player gains the respect of the people they administer. The guide does not serve as a beacon, but rather the compass. They are not standing on a soapbox and directing from a distance. Instead, they are in the trenches and, in the thick of it with you. This is the most precious aspect of a true leader.


  • Poise And Moxie –  The last essential characteristic of a transformational leader, is their strength of resolve. When times get testy, a true leader does not abandon ship; they go down with it if they must. They chartered the vessel and captained the crew, all others bought in. Now, the team finds themselves imperiled. A true transformational leader does not waiver, nor do they turn their back on those who followed them. A transformational leader carries on and does not relent due to challenges. Instead, innovative strategies are employed and a tactical response is deployed. The heart of a leader, is the heart of a lion. The cause will not be compromised due to an unexpected contingency. A leader adapts and carries the team on his shoulders to victory. The rector does not relinquish the cause, or blame his teammates for difficulties faced. They do not wish to escape admonishment. If anything, a transformational leader will always suffer the consequences at their expense, to protect their team. At the same token, a transformational leader is not afraid to take charge and take chances. Part of the sheer essence of innovation, is the willingness to take risks of great measure. A true visionary firmly adheres to this striking principle.


These are some of the attributes that transformational leaders exude. This short list is a pedigree of traits that the greatest chieftains personify. If you find yourself looking for a spark or a change; an anonymous stranger with these vary characteristics may be the catalyst you were searching for. Find out what kind of a leader you are by taking the award winning Goldstein Leadership Assessment.