4 Transformational Leadership Core Competencies

A transformational leader is a special type of individual, one who changes those around him. The model we use to develop the knowledge and skills to function as a transformational leader focuses on four Core Competencies as outlined below.
They are:

The Transformational Mind-set. The development of transformational leadership is supported by a world view or you become a creature of the status quo.


Self-Development. Often the greatest barrier to success in not others, not the environment, it is me. One needs to strive for self-mastery or you end up having flaws that can derail your career. 


Leadership Influence. Mangers rely on authority, leaders rely on influence. Nuff said.


Skill at Skill Building. Few know how to build a skill, so they waste countless hours in futile effort. And unless you happen to have a coach, you won’t learn it either.


“Lead, follow or get out of the way!” — American Saying

“You won’t make the history books by maintaining the status quo.”  — Murray Johannsen

 Core Competency 1:         Self-Mastery

“The easiest person to deceive is one’s own self.” — Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1803-1873, English novelist and playwright

474px-Knott's_Yantra“There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse; as I have found travelling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift one’s position and be bruised in a new place.” — Washington Irving, 1783-1859

Often the greatest barrier to success in not others, not the environment, it is our self—our Ego. Strange to say, the most important success tool is also one that is in the dullest. Not only is it dull, but also it is hard to sharpen.

 Core Competency 2:

The Transformational Mind-set

The Goal: Establishing a  Mind-set the is open and flexible to change

Sappho_and_AlcaeuseA mind-set is a worldview—it defines what you believe and how you think. It’s attitudes and values and feelings.

Most of these schemas and scripts (to use a couple of psychological terms) have been installed very early in life, in our childhood. They are installed without our awareness, and we absorb the culture. And let’s not forget the role of education. 

But somewhere along the way, great leaders formed their own beliefs about change and transformation. 


Mangers rely on authority, Leaders rely on influence.


 Core Competency 3: Social Influence


So if you have an immense amount of authority, subordinates in the vertical chain obey you. In such an environment, you might ask, “Why should I develop influence skills?” The answer is, you don’t since subordinates will slavishly try to satisfy your every whim.

However, almost everybody has a boss at work. And this individual cannot be influenced with your authority. And everyone has peers at work and authority does not work on them either. Let’s not forget about customers, suppliers, government officials and so on—authority doesn’t work on them either.

Managerial authority does not translate so well into leadership influence for another reason—one cannot order people to change.

Another interesting thing about the use of authority is its association with a position in an organization. And as the organizations size increase, the more authority one can have. For example, the position of team leader of a group of five has much less authority associated with it that CEO of an organization of 50,000. In fact, in Western cultures it is commonly thought that authority is likely to diminish team cohesion and teamwork. 

It’s very common in to confuse positional authority with leadership. One see this all the time in the press where a CEO is automatically considered a leader. Some surely are, but most couldn’t persuade a thirsty man to drink water. And they can’t build a team either. What many a CEO labels, as a there “management team” is really a group of aggressive individuals striving to curry favor with an authority figure.

So for these and other reasons, those who want to lead, will not really on authority. If available, fine. But since it doesn’t work in a number of situations, one needs to employ other types of influence.

 “If you never practice, you can fall down, but you can’t ski.” — Murray Johannsen

 Core Competency 4:

Skills Development

LDprin_Chiron_and_Achilles_c1922-1925_John_Singer_SargentDue to the nature of transformational leadership, it requires a great deal of skills. One has to master many different, not easy to perfect skills.

One cannot build a skill by reading about it. Of course you could be a transformational leadership professor and you can talk all day about what you cannot do. <Joseph Campbell: Five years of reading on myth><If you can do, x. . .

Seems obvious. But here another ugly question, arises, “how do you what are the steps you Must follow to build a skill?” <link to quiz>Again, most people don’t know.

Few know how to build a skill, so they waste countless hours in futile effort in study. It’s like have a car engine running at high RPM with the transmission in neutral—it makes lots of noise but its not going anywhere.

Leadership Skill Development