10 Ways New Leaders Move from Transactional to Transformational Leaders

Becoming a leader doesn’t mean that you need to know everything there is to know about leadership. The best leaders are those that are constantly curious and who invest in their education and growth. Leadership, after all, is not about being an expert — it’s about evaluating and developing skills in people management.

Therefore, it is essential to make time to improve your leadership skills consistently, which in turn, helps everyone on your team do their jobs better. Find ways to weave in time for learning into your day, whether by soliciting feedback, listening to a podcast or audio on leadership on your commute, or hiring a coach to co-create a development plan that helps to prioritize areas that move your management from transactional to transformational leadership.

  1. Ask For and Give Consistent and Balanced Feedback

Be vulnerable, and ask for feedback from those who closely work with you. Be specific, and ask for feedback about your leadership, communication, and impact. Thank those that share meaningful feedback. In leading others, be consistent in providing balanced feedback. Share what you appreciate and recognize and share areas of growth and development.

  1. Share Your Knowledge With Others

Suppose you want to learn — coach and mentor others. When we take the time to coach and mentor others, we have to continue to understand ourselves. We must develop, keep learning, and model the behaviors to create a culture of collaboration, connection, and growth.

  1. Seek a Balance Between Operational and Influential Leadership

The path to being a transformational leader is a healthy balance between attention to the operations of the business and your talent. If your leadership approach is all about the day-to-day, there is no inspiration. You can miss the outcome or goal if your style is all about your people. Simon Sinek taught us that starting with the why, linking our teams to the greater good, and building the path to get there is the right balance for strong processes and culture.

  1. Build Opportunities for Mentorship

Seek mentors for yourself and others within the organization. Seek someone for yourself that has walked in your shoes that can share their learning and insights. Leverage key talent to upskill, cross-train, train, and onboard new talent. Building a culture of coaching and performance comes from paying attention to each level of skill and leadership. Learning, guidance, and support from those who have been there and want to foster success in others is a surefire path to creating a confident leader and team.

  1. Know Your Strengths

Leadership is a skill that can be learned and developed. The best place to start is understanding and knowing your strengths. Utilizing an assessment that can provide insight into the way you are wired can provide the framework for building strong self-awareness and how to modify your style and approach to others. The CliftonStrengths assessment shares your key talents, how they’re utilized, and what to watch out for to build strong, consistent behaviors in leadership.

  1. Failure Provides Opportunity for Reflection

Transformative leadership is about being authentic, not perfect. Failure happens, and how we handle it is seen throughout the organization. Be transparent about what happened and what you learned from it. Encourage reflection and sharing throughout the organization. This process encourages calculated risk, creativity, and innovation.

  1. Be a Life-Long Learner

Are you a book nerd? Love a podcast or TEDTalk? Do you read articles on Linkedin to stay informed on the latest trends and impacts on your business? Be curious, find the best way to learn for yourself, and build a network around you to share ideas and develop plans to integrate them into your leadership style and approach. Encourage others to learn, and create space within the work environment to learn and grow.

  1. Pursue and Participate in Training Programs

Be strategic with training which is an investment in yourself and your team. Consider customized training where there can be networking, connection with others, and time to process and apply the concept or skill to their current role. Training can also be a team development opportunity, conducting a team session to build cohesion and shared accountability in applying key concepts. Nonprofit SideKick’s Leadership Accelerator is for up-and-coming leaders that want to learn about the nuts and bolts of nonprofit leadership and the heart and soul of connecting with their team.

  1. Test and Learn

Leadership is developed through practice. Seek daily and weekly interactions to build your leadership skills and expertise. Apply your skills in meetings, coaching, one on one conversations. Reflect on what is working and where you may need to tweak or change your approach.

  1. Push Past Your Comfort Level

Lean into discomfort to grow. We all have areas of our role that we dislike, may need to be stronger, or need to learn. Choose tasks, activities, and interactions that provide discomfort for growth. Share these experiences. What was it like? What did I learn? How did it benefit my development and the organization? Create these opportunities for others, explain the why, and coach them through it.

Did you find this article helpful as a leader and are interested in receiving more resources like this? Are you looking to connect with other like-minded nonprofit leaders? Then, look no further. We’re hosting our next Leadership Accelerator program on November 18th, where we’ll help you unlock your leadership potential by co-creating a development plan that helps to prioritize areas that move your management from transactional to transformational leadership.

You’ll also receive a FREE one-year membership in the Nonprofit SideKick community, a collaborative space for leaders and potential leaders to connect, share and grow.