By Mariela Dabbah
I didn’t set out to be have a transformational leadership style or to be a transformational leader for that matter. Heck, I didn’t even set out to be a leader. It just happened. I wanted to be a writer. A fiction writer, at that. How did I get here?
Since my first book, How to Get a Job in the U.S., came out, I felt the need to amplify the message of the books I wrote, so I could provide tools and resources to more people. One thing led to another, and a non-profit and a women empowerment movement later, here I am. Growing every day into the leader I’d like to become with the help of thousands who are anxious to be led in their own journey to become leaders.
A while back, when I started exploring different leadership styles more closely, I realized that I squarely fit into the transformational leader category. But what does it mean to have a transformational leadership style?
Definition of transformational leadership style
Unlike the transactional leadership style of leaders who lead through social exchange (I.e.: offering financial incentives for a job well done and denying rewards for lack of productivity,) transformational leaders “stimulate and inspire followers to both achieve extraordinary outcomes and, in the process, develop their own leadership capacity.”  These leaders place great value in developing their followers, empowering, and challenging them. They focus on building followers’ ability to identify and achieve their goals. These leaders encourage their followers to be innovative and become leaders regardless of where they are in their careers. They shed light on each follower’s inner motivations and ambitions rather than waste energy in convincing them to follow the leader. By guiding others through an internal journey, a transformational leadership style elicits an unprecedented level of loyalty, excitement, and commitment for the leader’s causes.
As they trust their leader implicitly, followers are ready to do anything to support their leader’s objectives. Naturally, this is how transformational leadership helps leaders fulfill their own organization’s goals. When the person is an authentic transformational leader, unbelievably powerful things happen and real, positive change takes place. And here lies the power of the transformational leadership style.
Not surprisingly, studies show that this is the most effective way to lead, and I would add that it’s probably the most fitting leadership style for the 21st century.
I didn’t set out to have a transformational leadership style. But when you lead from your gut, when you follow your convictions, when you prioritize the well being of the majority, when you live what you preach and remain a life-long learner, you wake up one day having effectively transformed the lives of many who in turn have transformed yours. It becomes an almost magical virtuous circle. That’s when you know that you are no longer just a writer and you must embrace your role – whether you got there by design or fate.
 Transformational Leadership, Bernard M. Bass and Ronald E. Riggio, Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2008
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