Industries, even national economies, are in a constant state of flux these days. Much of it can be attributed to the need for transformation that the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed upon us. We can’t help but admit that the radical evolution of technology and innovation has a lot to do with this change. Many organizations are rethinking their business models, and most are adopting tech tools to make their services and products more accessible to the market. At the helm of such digital transformation is thought leadership demonstrated by leaders who have transformed their organizations and sparked change in their respective industries. So we come to the question, who are these transformational business leaders?
At its very core, the transformational leadership model encourages and inspires teams to embrace change. But it is also much more than merely holding change as an end unto itself. It is the form of leadership that encourages innovative, out-of-the-box thinking and inspires employees and teams to come up with unconventional solutions. Some of the famous transformational leaders of India have been free thinkers who have believed in the power of open communication and engagement to find constructive solutions.
Let us take a look at the impact transformational leadership has on team dynamics and organizations.
- Following the Vision – Transformational leadership is all about vision. It is recognizing the impact of external influences or market forces and steering the organization or the team in the direction that it needs to take, to survive and succeed. According to a study, over 70% of employees enjoy working for bosses with foresight and a clear, practical plan to achieve organizational goals. This trust that teams repose in the leaders can be further reinforced by success. Let us understand this with an example. Sanjiv Bajaj, Chairman & Managing Director, Bajaj Finserv and President, CII (2022-23) took over the reins of Bajaj Finserv at a time when the finance sector was laden with traditional approaches, and growth seemed to be slow. One of India’s top transformational leaders in business, Bajaj quickly initiated a digital drive that completely transformed the business, both in its internal functioning and the way customers avail of its services. This has been a key in boosting organizational morale and Bajaj Finserv becoming one of India’s largest NBFCs.
- Through Thick and Thin – One of the key elements of transformational leadership is that it provides teams with a strong and iconic role model, a person who can be a guide and mentor, whom they can look up to in success and setbacks. Growth and development are not linear. A leader whose vision is firmly set on the path ahead will offer the team inspiration to achieve goals but will also help keep the morale up in difficult times. Accepting and embracing the changes in the economy, technology, and market perceptions is one of the very fundamental principles of resilience. This is the lesson that teams learn from transformational leaders.
- From Transparency to Teamwork – Teams work best when there is a consideration for individual strengths and openness of communication. This is the greatest advantage that a transformational leader brings to the table. They invite ideas, solutions, constructive criticism, and feedback from all levels of the organization or team. This is what makes them successful in understanding the intricacies of work at all levels and reaching for holistic solutions. Let’s consider N R Narayan Murthy, the founder of Infosys for example. Murthy is one of the most revered digital pioneers in India. His leadership style comprises involving the team in finding solutions to tech challenges rather than putting forth directives, which in turn helps empower teams and boost their morale. Infosys is appreciated by employees for its inclusive policies. In most organizations over 60% of employees like working for bosses who adopt innovative solutions. Being part of these solutions can motivate teams.
- Promoting Personal Growth – Employees remain motivated in teams led by visionary leaders because they find immense opportunities for personal development. Learning, acquiring new skills, honing and practicing existing skills, and being presented with challenges are some of the key aspects that keep work exciting and present opportunities for individual growth. Transformational leadership encourages such learning and development because that forms the basis of the team and organization’s progress. When Azim Premji was the Chairman of Wipro Ltd, he greatly emphasized the need for skills development and corporate social responsibility which helped Wipro attract and keep talented employees for longer spells than most IT companies. This has now become an enduring organizational culture. According to a study, 87% of respondents want their bosses to be coaches and mentors. This is the impact that personal development has on team cohesion.
The transformational leadership model is now widely acknowledged as the most successful when it comes to boosting team morale and inspiring innovation. This also has a significant impact in terms of employee retention and attracting talent.
Conclusion – The transformational leadership model is the most successful when it comes to inspiring and motivating teams to adopt technological and innovative solutions. Transformational leaders also attract and retain talent. This is because they adopt transparent communication, encourage personal growth and development, and make space for setbacks as well as success. Transformational leaders are iconic role models to team members and boost team morale in their respective organizations.