Surprising Traits of Transformational Leaders

Successful leaders generally share a common list of traits. However once a leader starts to explore the threshold of the ordinary and becomes transformational, these skills are not enough. So lets examine some surprising traits of transformational leaders that set them apart.

  1. They get AngryThis is not the ‘average Joe’ kind of anger we are talking about. Great leaders get angry at mediocrity; at injustice; at inaction; at whatever holds them or others back. For them anger is not a negative or destructive emotion. For instance, Nelson Mandela’s anger at the injustice of discrimination formed the basis for the freedom struggle that liberated South Africa. Transformational leaders allow their anger to guide them, rouse them into action and overcome obstacles. It fuels their passion and enlivens their vision. So the next time you see yourself getting angry, let it rouse you to positive action.
  2. They are not afraid to show their Vulnerable side – They understand that nobody is perfect, including them. In fact, accepting imperfection means, accepting, there is room for improvement. It means, they genuinely care about their people enough to overcome their personal egos and accept their mistakes. Displaying vulnerability means that they are willing to learn, always. Plus by being vulnerable, they reveal their approachability and humanity. This in turn encourages others to trust them and be more open about their own gaps, to enable learning and growth.
  3. They can ‘Let Go of Control’ – Most leaders mention, ‘taking control of the situation’, as one of their key attributes. But as you move up the value chain, the unpredictability and inherent contradictions of business only become deeper. Great leaders realize that in such situations, it is not possible to retain excessive control without endangering creativity, agility and flexibility in response. So they are able to let go and actually learn to thrive in ambiguity. This trait also encourages their teams to take risks and explore new ways of doing things.

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