When you are in the presence of someone who is providing authentic transformational leadership you will leave that conversation inspired.

What access do you have to being this kind of leader and to inspiring such leadership in others?

In part one of this series, we noticed that the passion and energy for this unique leadership comes from being and acting in service of something bigger than yourself.

Your actions as a leader of transformation then come from a vision beyond personal concerns and personal gain. This kind of commitment to something larger than yourself is not an unattainable one, or only for Ghandi-like heroes.  It is possible for everyone.

“Being committed to something bigger than oneself is the source of that passion and energy. Every individual and every organization has the power to choose that commitment—there is no ‘right answer.’ It is creating what lights up you and your organization.” (Insigniam Quarterly, Winter 2013)

Through transformational leadership, a commitment to new possibilities brings joy and satisfaction to both the most mundane and the most difficult work.

There are many examples of organizations that have created and acted on this kind of vision. Here are brief examples from two different airlines:

“We believe in Living the Southwest Way, which is to have a Warrior Spirit, a Servant’s Heart, and a Fun-LUVing Attitude. Within each of these categories are specific behaviors to help us be a Safe, profitable, and a Fun place to work.”

“JetBlue Airways is dedicated to bringing humanity back to air travel. We strive to make every part of your experience as simple and as pleasant as possible.”

Jet Blue even has even created a “Customer Bill of Rights.”

When you are in the presence of such transformational leadership, or in a company embodying it, you will naturally be touched by such a lived and inspired commitment.

Where do you begin to access this kind of commitment and vision?

  • Begin by noticing wherever it is missing—acknowledge and accept that.
  • Listen to, meet with or read about leaders who are living and working inside a commitment bigger than themselves.
  • Begin a dialogue with a diverse work group and share what inspires each person to act beyond personal concerns.
  • Avoid the tendency to start the conversation with outcomes or numbers. Keep the focus on the future vision.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” Antoine de Saint Exupéry


Once created, embraced and shared, this kind of large commitment gives you and others a unique kind of passion—one that lies at the heart of transformational leadership.

Action: Who will you share with this week about a commitment larger than yourself that inspires you?

What can you do to find your own version of a longing for “the endless immensity of the sea”?

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