How can the 4 “I’s” of Transformational Leadership help business dads? 

transformational leadership as a business dad

Transformational leadership is a significant area of discussion in companies. Transformational leaders use a leadership style to move people and inspire positive performance in both the individual and the company. 

So, of course, this can be a style that is hugely beneficial to being a business dad as we want to inspire the people in our business and our children. This type of leadership involves mentoring, coaching, setting positive examples and developing a culture of progress. 

We all talk about culture in business, but what about the culture at home? Transformational leaders create a distinctive culture that is understood and embraced.

We can, of course, already think of the characteristics of a transformational leader – passionate, forward-thinking, understanding, and inspirational. However, becoming a transformational leader is about grounding actions and strategies that lead to this. That’s why I get really excited about talking about it to business dads.

How can we use the four “I’s” of Transformational Leadership?

James MacGregor Burns, a political science and leadership researcher and author of more than two dozen books, devoted his professional life to studying leadership in various forms. Burns defined transformational leadership as: 

“When one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality.”

Burns’ work led to the Bass Transformational Leadership Theory, which grounded the four main components.

Intellectual Stimulation

A massive step in the transformational leadership process starts with the “this is the way we’ve always done things” mentality. Assumptions can cause issues, and we must understand where those assumptions come from. 

As a business founder, this can be very difficult because you feel you need to be doing things all the time. As a dad, evening more so, it’s learning on the job most of the time. 

By highlighting the opportunities to grow, you learn to enjoy the process rather than focusing on the outcomes of the efforts. The transformational leader removes the “fear factor” from work and being a dad to empowering people and family to constantly learn, look for and act upon opportunities rather than playing it safe.

Individual Consideration

The following critical transformational leadership trait is the ability to communicate a feeling of the larger culture to the individual, giving people a sense of ownership in the outcome and goal setting. 

Transformational business dads do not rule from the top and dictate methods and frameworks. They are passionate about personal and professional development and facilitate positive development at home and in the office.

 A key to this involves:

  • Keeping and developing lines of communication.
  • Attending to the individual needs of home/work.
  • Mentoring them and identifying each person’s unique contributions.

Transformational leaders do not micromanage; they lead by communicating a clear vision, value and purpose and creating an environment allowing people to make decisions. 

Inspirational Motivation

Each of the 4 I’s are important, but inspirational motivation is my biggest one. Transformational business dads need to communicate vision, value and purpose (VVP) so well that everyone around them internalises it and takes action on the goal.

Out of the VVP, the purpose is a crucial foundation for motivation. The motivation to succeed can be driven by both fear and non-fear-based issues; the critical issue is to have them in equal measure.

Transformational leaders set values that drive actions to model the business and family

Idealised Influence

As mentioned above, the best way to impart inspirational motivation to the people around you is to model it positively. 

Transformational business dads serve as role models for everyone around them. As a dad, how you influence your children and people in the company is vital to any required transformation – which some may argue is needed all the time to progress. Therefore, there is a need to model ethics, highlight socially desirable behaviour, and maintain a dedication to work.

The foundation of this influence is trust and respect, which can be miss thought of as a business dad. We all want the people around us to trust and respect us; when this happens, these people make good decisions for the family and the business. With this trust, people become followers who want to emulate their leaders and internalise their ideals — growing the idea of group flow and the idea of everyone contributing to the situation.

Transformational Leadership Compared to Other Leadership Styles

Transformational leadership has gained huge attention. It’s important to understand that these four “I’s” of transformational leadership laid the foundation for the philosophy and continue to help with other leadership styles. 

One leadership style we will hear a lot about is the “visionary” style.

It is essential to understand that some people use the terms “visionary leadership” and “transformational leadership” interchangeably. 

A part of transformational leadership is to have a vision when the time comes. Visionary leaders always look for new possibilities and opportunities for the team, and then they help others conceptualise those visions and encourage them to develop them. 

The difference between these leadership styles lies in a truly transformational leader’s ability to inspire and guide the development of others.

Transformational Leadership vs Transactional Leadership

While visionary leadership is part of transformational leadership, transactional leadership takes contrasting approaches, mainly when we discuss motivation. 

Transformational leadership is long-term leadership focused on the people around them. This makes sense when it comes to the family but maybe not so much for the business. Transactional leadership is focused on the short-term and how to grow as fast as possible. Therefore, rewards or penalties are used more often, and team members are rated on how well they perform. 

This style of leadership is primarily results-oriented and tends to be more appropriate when the goal is to complete specific tasks within a limited time frame.

Both of these styles of leadership can be utilised, and even combined, to best serve a team’s function and achieve desired goals. It falls to the leader to recognise which leadership approach can best motivate employees to achieve those goals.

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