Commentary

November 1, 2013

Transformational leader promotes change

Senior Master Sgt. ROBERT TOWLER
56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron

The many dramatic changes and challenges we face today, such as shifting demographics, diversity, international relations, political struggles, innovations in technology, threats to the environment and economy, call for a more proactive or transformational leader who motivates workers to perform beyond expectations.

The measure by which leaders are considered transformational is based on their ability to influence and transform others. The followers of such leaders generally display greater trust, admiration, loyalty, and respect toward those leaders and are willing to work extremely hard for them. This occurs because the individual offers a central vision while inspiring others to complete their mission.

Transformational leadership is the most active and effectual form of leadership. Such leaders promote positive and significant changes in people and organizations, motivating their followers and developing them with personal consideration, thought stimulation, self-motivation and selfless influence.

This type of leader’s goal is to develop followers into leaders themselves. They treat others as individuals with different needs, abilities, and aspirations and not just as a part of a group of subordinates. They see learning as invaluable and adversity as a means to promote growth.

Transformational leaders promote a pleasing and inspiring future state while displaying the highest virtues, character and work ethic.

Have you had a transformational leader? What about one that you would be willing to trust unconditionally?

I’ve been blessed with a few such leaders throughout my career. One that instantly comes to mind is Chief Master Sgt. Randy Buss, my former aircraft maintenance unit superintendent. Chief Buss embodied all of the characteristics, traits, and abilities to truly transform a unit and its personnel.

He was a true mentor to his subordinates while always considering their concerns. Chief always advocated critical thinking and the use of systematic analysis to solve problems and foster innovation. Every unit member felt an overwhelming sense of purpose generated by Chief’s unwavering optimism, enthusiasm and drive to alter the status quo. Chief’s self-interests were never in conflict with those of his subordinates or the unit. You could say that we truly gave him our unconditional trust.

Finding the right leadership balance is critical whether you’re an Airman, NCO or senior NCO. Think about what type of leader you are and what type you want to be. Don’t wait until you are in a leadership position to make that decision. Being a transformational leader isn’t easy but in the end, just ask yourself, “Do I want to promote change, or do I just want to stand in the way?”




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