Organizations Need Transformational Leaders Not Autocrats
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autocraticleadershipLeaders were once looked to provide the answers to our questions because they were the ones in the know.  Now they seem out of touch, and somehow removed from what happens on a day-to-day basis.  As the speed and availability of information has increased our trust in leadership has decreased.  The erosion of trust in our leaders isn’t because the fundamental DNA of people has changed. It is due to the fact that our once heralded organizational systems and the subsequent actions that we expect of leaders have dramatically shifted.  

The expectation today is a leader that listens. We demand that they help to facilitate the discovery of solutions not possesses all the answers.  We no longer expect our leaders to be autocratic like Patton, Churchill, or Lincoln.  The world we live in is simply too fast with too much information for someone to know everything and act accordingly.  No one can have all the answers. In short, we expect our leaders to be transformational leaders and not traditional leaders. 

In the midst of informational overload, why is it that trust in our leaders seems to be eroding at an exponential pace?  Do we even trust the news sources we get our information from anyone?  Leaders may possess charisma, clearly articulate a vision, make big deals, and create positive buzz in the media,  but if their words don’t match their actions consistently over time, they surely won’t be trusted.

Are the embattled leaders in the Middle East trusted by their people?  They certainly have talked the talk for decades but haven’t walked the walk when it comes to reform, freedom of speech, creating jobs, or reducing nepotism.  The uprisings that have sprung up in Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya and the Ivory Coast all point to a major loss of trust with leadership.

James MacGregor Burns, a presidential biographer and authority on leadership studies first introduced the concept of transforming leadership in 1978. According to Burns, transforming leadership is a process in which "leaders and followers help each other to advance to a higher level of morale and motivation". This has shifted the discussion from studying the traits of leaders and transactional management to a focus on the interaction of leaders and how they collaborate with others to create trusted bonds.  This isn’t a top-down theory on management but a more inclusive approach of “I win if we all win”. 

More recently, Mark McCloskey, a professor at Bethel University greatly simplified the inner workings of transformational leadership in his article “The 4R Model of Leadership: A Virtue-Based Curricular Model for Business Education in a Global Context.”  This model focuses on the BASICTM virtues a leader must possess and practice to build trusted relationships.  These core virtues aren’t anything new, as they have always existed as part of humanity, as Plato and Aristotle clearly articulated.  They may just have been pushed aside for a while to make room for what used to be an effective autocratic management approach.   These virtues impact every role, exhibited behavior, responsibility, and set of results a leader will produce. 

The 4R Model outlines the basic virtues this way: beneficial partnerships, aligned emotions, sustained determination, intellectual flexibility and character. To become a transformational leader, not just a traditional leader, you first become a trusted one. To become a trusted leader you must possess the BASICTM virtues.   Work Effects, a human resources and management consulting firm in Minneapolis, has used the 4R Model as the basis of its leadership development programs and employee assessments like Revolution 360TM and Check-Up 360TM.

As we begin to emerge from this latest recession we are now starting to see demographic changes that are going to affect organizations in a big way. The soon-to-be retired will finally create the forecasted brain drain we’ve often heard about.  After significant downsizing, the surviving employees that remain have had their trust breached during the downturn and will start seeking new opportunities the first chance they get. And the newly-minted workforce graduating from our colleges will create the next global war – the war for top talent. 
Thus it is imperative that leaders of today, and in the future, start by going on a trust building campaign and nurture the relationships that will help them navigate through these demographic changes.  Trust can’t be built overnight and must be considered a long-term investment. Without the guidance of a transformational leader, the trust battle could be lost before we start.

The article also appeared on Yahoo's Contributor Network. Visit link HERE.

 

About Work Effects
Work Effects offers over 20 years of research and practice in developing trust throughout an organization, its leadership and its workforce. Work Effects builds programs that are as unique as your organization. Modular solutions, centered on the  4-R Model of Transformational Leadership, includes talent and experience assessments, Revolution 360TM, Conflict LensTM dilemma based leadership training, individual and group coaching, and follow-up Check-Up 360TM assessments. Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 612-333-4272 x22 for more information.

Leaders were once looked to provide the answers to our questions because they were the ones in the know.  Now they seem out of touch, and somehow removed from what happens on a day-to-day basis.  As the speed and availability of information has increased our trust in leadership has decreased.  The erosion of trust in our leaders isn’t because the fundamental DNA of people has changed. It is due to the fact that our once heralded organizational systems and the subsequent actions that we expect of leaders have dramatically shifted.   

The expectation today is a leader that listens. We demand that they help to facilitate the discovery of solutions not possesses all the answers.  We no longer expect our leaders to be autocratic like Patton, Churchill, or Lincoln.  The world we live in is simply too fast with too much information for someone to know everything and act accordingly.  No one can have all the answers. In short, we expect our leaders to be transformational leaders and not traditional leaders.   

In the midst of informational overload, why is it that trust in our leaders seems to be eroding at an exponential pace?  Do we even trust the news sources we get our information from anyone?  Leaders may possess charisma, clearly articulate a vision, make big deals, and create positive buzz in the media,  but if their words don’t match their actions consistently over time, they surely won’t be trusted. 

Are the embattled leaders in the Middle East trusted by their people?  They certainly have talked the talk for decades but haven’t walked the walk when it comes to reform, freedom of speech, creating jobs, or reducing nepotism.  The uprisings that have sprung up in Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya and the Ivory Coast all point to a major loss of trust with leadership.

James MacGregor Burns, a presidential biographer and authority on leadership studies first introduced the concept of transforming leadership in 1978. According to Burns, transforming leadership is a process in which "leaders and followers help each other to advance to a higher level of morale and motivation". This has shifted the discussion from studying the traits of leaders and transactional management to a focus on the interaction of leaders and how they collaborate with others to create trusted bonds.  This isn’t a top-down theory on management but a more inclusive approach of “I win if we all win”. 

 

More recently, Mark McCloskey, a professor at Bethel University greatly simplified the inner workings of transformational leadership in his article “The 4R Model of Leadership: A Virtue-Based Curricular Model for Business Education in a Global Context.”  This model focuses on the BASICTM virtues a leader must possess and practice to build trusted relationships.  These core virtues aren’t anything new, as they have always existed as part of humanity, as Plato and Aristotle clearly articulated.  They may just have been pushed aside for a while to make room for what used to be an effective autocratic management approach.   These virtues impact every role, exhibited behavior, responsibility, and set of results a leader will produce. 

 

The 4R Model outlines the basic virtues this way: beneficial partnerships, aligned emotions, sustained determination, intellectual flexibility and character. To become a transformational leader, not just a traditional leader, you first become a trusted one. To become a trusted leader you must possess the BASICTM virtues.   Work Effects, a human resources and management consulting firm in Minneapolis, has used the 4R Model as the basis of its leadership development programs and employee assessments like Revolution 360 TM and Check-Up 360TM.

 

As we begin to emerge from this latest recession we are now starting to see demographic changes that are going to affect organizations in a big way. The soon-to-be retired will finally create the forecasted brain drain we’ve often heard about.  After significant downsizing, the surviving employees that remain have had their trust breached during the downturn and will start seeking new opportunities the first chance they get. And the newly-minted workforce graduating from our colleges will create the next global war – the war for top talent. 

Thus it is imperative that leaders of today, and in the future, start by going on a trust building campaign and nurture the relationships that will help them navigate through these demographic changes.  Trust can’t be built overnight and must be considered a long-term investment. Without the guidance of a transformational leader, the trust battle could be lost before we start.

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