Transformational Leadership: Are You Really Present?

Blog Post Breakthrough Results, Transformational Leadership

The foundation of transformational leadership is being present to the world around you. Have you ever had instances where you are focused on something and all of a sudden hours have gone by? I mean the kind of focus where hours pass without looking at the clock, without checking your emails or text messages, or when you were not otherwise distracted. For me, during those times I am not present to the conversation in my head. I am not a spectator, but I am in the action. Transformational leadership is fueled by the ability to be present like that.

Be here now. Easier said than done?

Recently, I found myself really annoyed by a friend’s inability to multi-task. Specifically, I was annoyed by his inability to listen to what I was saying while he was texting, posting, or whatever he was doing on his mobile device. That gave me pause to consider, where am I not present in my life? After about two hours of finding where I am not present, I concluded that there are fewer responses to the question, “when am I fully present?” I became fully aware of the inauthenticity in my listening (pretending to listen) when I am waiting to talk, distracted by what just came in on social media, or thinking about my own internal state, etc.  Knowing that authenticity is one hallmark of transformational leadership, I was faced with a dilemma: how do I get myself present and stay in the now?

Transformational leadership and the network of conversations

If you accept that every organization is comprised of a network of conversations, then the savvy leader will pay close attention to those conversations and play an active role in shaping what is and is not said. Some conversations create possibility and others kill it. Powerful conversations for transformational leaders to dwell in and create include those that:

  • Build relationship
  • Generate new possibilities or new insight
  • Deal with opportunities
  • Generate action
  • Uncover breakdowns and resolve them

Staying present in the current conversation and contributing in a way that moves forward the goals and purpose of the organization is a skill and the responsibility of leaders at all levels.