Core Capacities of Transformational Leaders

The Institute for Transformational Leadership has established a set of Leadership Principles as a guide for emerging and current leaders. Within that framework, we have also identified the core capacities of transformational leaders.

Creates a Vision:

  • Evokes the energy of a big dream, the energy of “inside-out,” and the energy of working at every level
  • Works from mission and purpose and helps others connect their work with higher purpose
  • Creates and communicates inspiring, aspirational and attainable vision
  • Frames new narrative for implementation of vision
  • Helps others navigate change by orienting people about where they are in the change process, what has happened, what is happening and what must happen next
  • Champions new behaviors and actions, including risk taking and overcoming fear of failure
  • Provides context for vision, strategy, and action
  • Ensures clear prioritization for own contributions and for the organization
  • Facilitates multi-option thinking (i.e. choices)
  • Uses the energy aroused by those who oppose them or who are outside to forward the realization of their own dream.

Communicates Through Listening:

  • Communicates effectively through deep listening, a unifying narrative, and skillful inquiry, demonstrating an understanding of how to use conversation to inspire and move others to action and establish positive accountability
  • Understands how to communicate to stakeholders during the change process
  • Creates strategic narratives and plans
  • Convenes and facilitates conversations that open possibilities and outline key actions needed for implementation.

Optimizes Resources:

  • Optimizes existing resources to meet most important challenges
  • Prioritizes and focuses action
  • Makes decisions and commits to action.

Enrolls Others:

  • Inspires others with compelling vision that inspires them to act boldly
  • Builds shared perspective (helps people see the whole thing)
  • Influences coalitions towards desired outcomes
  • Builds and leverages networks; knows how to influence social networks
  • Creates shared intention
  • Creates shared sense of urgency
  • Gains “buy in” from the group
  • Reinforces the positive to build confidence and hope in the group.

Develops Others:

  • Facilitates learning and results
    • Creates awareness
    • Designs actions
    • Plans and sets goals
    • Manages progress and accountability
  • Engages, develops and empowers others, tapping into their core strengths and helping build their confidence and capabilities
  • Develops transformational thinking in others.

Coordinates Action:

  • Establishes cohesive group
  • Identifies few, most important things vs. all the important things
  • Evaluates most valuable activities and best use of resources.

Builds an Intentional Culture:

  • Shapes culture
  • Understands shadow side of culture
  • Gives and receives feedback with positive accountability
  • Gains or communicates clear and committed yes’s and no’s
  • Holds true to commitments, building credibility.

Embodies Presence – Models the Way:

  • Develops own capacity for transformational thinking
  • Engages in the journey of inner development to acquire new capacities
  • Leads from inner guidance and sound analysis
  • Connects with the bigger picture and the “ecology of the whole”
  • Co-creates relationships by building trust and sustained connection
  • Shows genuine concern for the welfare and future of others
  • Continuously demonstrates personal integrity, honesty and sincerity
  • Accepts responsibility for making a difference
  • Establishes clear agreements and expectations with others
  • Keeps promises
  • Uses dialogue to harvest group’s wisdom
  • Withdraws projections to enhance clarity and cooperation
  • Fosters emotional connection to enhance experience and performance of group
  • Demonstrates respect for others’ perceptions, learning style, personal being
  • Harvests wisdom of own experiences
  • Embodies an authentic, credible presence
  • Sets the foundation for the organization by modeling and upholding ethical leadership
  • Manages self and own reactivity to provide balanced, mindful leadership; leads with mindfulness and equanimity
  • Brings a quality of embodied leadership presence that inspires confidence, trust, respect and loyalty from others
  • Invites creativity and innovation.

Learn more about leadership principles >>