SBM Articles


Are You a Transactional or a Transformational Leader?

by Judy Ryan
“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” 
-Sam Walton
A prospect of mine asked me if I was familiar with Transformational Leadership. Our model IS a transformational leadership model. As such, it is based on purpose, values and vision. It is designed so that people within an organization buy into and deliver the vision of the organization as well as the visions of one another. When we help an organization set outcomes, we invite employees to help deliver the outcomes together. Transformational leaders build strong, trustworthy relationships. Here are important ways we do this:
1. Focus on developing leadership in every employee so the entire workforce is not only building trust, but also operating from the full distribution of concepts and tools. As a result, our employees develop emotional intelligence, social interest, personal responsibility, healthy teamwork, and intrinsic motivation. Trustworthiness is foundational to our responsibility-based culture model. It’s not enough that traditional, titled leaders are developed to be transformational. There must be equal time, money and education given to all staff. That’s why we place an emphasis on systems, vertical team development (CEO to front-line staff) and capacity building, and the ability of individuals, organizations or systems to perform appropriate functions effectively, efficiently and sustainably as a collective. 
2. Focus on leader/follower agility. We purposely set up activities in our process to increase flexibility in all people so each can confidently shift from leading to following and vice-versa, all while consciously supporting each other in either role. 
3. Integrate Alfred Adler’s psychology model. The reason Adler’s model is still under-recognized is that understanding his work would significantly shift the use of power from our current win/lose dynamics into radically shared power, inclusion and equity. That’s why the authors of The Courage to Be Disliked wrote that Adler was at least 100 years ahead of his time. Adler had the most cogent understanding of what encourages or diminishes a healthy sense of belonging and significance in people and made the connection between the impacts of this concept on internal and external struggles. With this knowledge, people are able to recognize how they contribute to--and how they either move further into and towards--inferiority complex or away from it. With it, people are able to read the map of specific behaviors because they see the private logic and values of each person despite their trips into fear and limitation. 
Understanding Adler’s individual psychology model and the important concept of social interest (awareness about how our actions cause consequences for others) shifts the priorities in group dynamics from power-over and power-under to power-within for ALL. Adler effectively disrupts the win/lose transactional way of treating one another and leads to transformational leadership development in everyone. Some version of Adler’s philosophies are aligned with the best in culture evolution today. 
4. Use a digital platform and an implementation framework. You need such a framework to support full distribution of concepts, tools and practices when transitioning to and sustaining a healthy culture. 
5. Promote systems integration using a digital intranet structure so long-term sustainability of the model--and all practices and tools in it--are easy for clients to reference and use no matter where they are situated.
You are a business leader. Make sure you understand the importance of shifting away from a transactional way of leading people and how to move towards a transformational one instead. Such awareness makes all the difference in your results. 
Judy Ryan (, human systems specialist, is owner of LifeWork Systems. Join her in her mission to create a world in which all people love their lives. She can also be reached at 314-239-4727. 
People hire LifeWork Systems because we help businesses become agile and manage their priority system: their human system. I hope this article helps you make sense of what’s most crucial to your evolving organization!


Submitted 3 years 266 days ago
Categories: categoryThe Extraordinary Workplace
Views: 2587