There are plenty of people who embellish their resumes and LinkedIn profiles with buzzwords such as “transformational leadership strengths” without a true understanding of what those words mean. And when it comes to transformational leadership, a lack of understanding could cost your company excellent employees—and money.
What Is A Transformational Leader, You Ask?
In contrast, tactical leaders focus on solving straightforward problems, and strategic leaders focus on the future with visionary expertise in forecasting trends.
Think of the transformational leader as the glue between the day-to-day tactical and long-range planning strategic leaders. They can focus on an organization’s culture and the guardian of employee morale.
Focusing On Competencies V. Interpersonal Skills
Many organizations are too narrowly focused on day-to-day job competencies when making decisions about who to hire or promote into leadership roles. As a result, employers may focus on an employee’s past performance and knowledge of essential job functions rather than their ability to manage and lead others.
This is a mistake.
Competencies are essential, but interpersonal and soft skills contribute to performance, development, and success across the board at an organization.
For example, say you have an employee who starts at a company as a graphic designer. After several years, they may be promoted to senior designer and, ultimately, art director. The assumption is that someone in the role of art director should have mastered the basics of graphic design and be fully competent in everything it takes to complete the job effectively. However, someone who is skilled in design and understands the company’s processes may not know how to lead and manage other employees.
In fact, according to The Ken Blanchard Companies, 58% of managers said they didn’t receive any management training when they were promoted.
Companies that focus more on developing competencies in their managers instead of interpersonal skills are likely to confuse their leaders and diminish the organization’s overall effectiveness.
According to a 2018 Udemy study, 60% of employees think managers need more manager training, and 56% believe companies promote people too quickly.
“The single biggest decision you make in your job—bigger than all the rest—is who you name manager,” Gallup CEO Jim Clifton said. “When you name the wrong person (a) manager, nothing fixes that bad decision. Not compensation, not benefits—nothing.”