In this day and age, we need leaders to rise up and take their rightful places in our various communities across our land. But it’s not just about leadership. It’s not enough for people to direct a group of people—whether that group is large or small—to a certain destination, and yet that group of people remains unchanged in their mindsets, in their hearts, and ultimately in their ways. By the time the group gets to where they need to be, that group needs to be transformed. That’s where transformational leadership comes into play. In order for transformational leadership to take place, the leader must first have had a transformative process him-/herself. The leader must have gained some knowledge and wisdom that puts him or her on a higher level than the people he or she is about to lead. Then the leader must know how to apply that wisdom in practical ways so the people he or she is about to lead can “get with the program.” Most people are like sheep in the sense that they need a shepherd to guide them from one place to another. However, unlike sheep, people need to be able to take what wisdom they gain from their leader(s) and apply it in such a way that it changes the way they see the world around them, the way they think, the way they speak, and ultimately the way they do things.
Leaders who simply take people from one place to another are not operating under the umbrella of transformational leadership. When one follows a leader who is practicing transformational leadership skills, the follower will eventually come up to a higher level just like their leader did before them. We need more people to rise up to higher levels of seeing, thinking, speaking, and doing because we are beginning to run out of leaders. When we look at the state of this nation right now, it is not difficult to see that we are facing dire straits. We have an incompetent “president” in the White House and I seriously doubt he will be transforming anything for the better. If anything, he will make many things worse for millions of people.
Now we need to look at a few things transformational leadership does besides help people to see, think, speak, and do better. First, transformational leadership makes people who are following the leader accountable for the progress they make. A transformational leader is not going to let you slack off and not contribute to the betterment of yourself and of the group as a whole. Secondly, transformational leadership raises the bar for other leaders, regardless as to whether those other leaders are in the same sphere of influence as the transformational leaders or not. For example, when you look at a figure like Bishop T. D. Jakes, you can’t help but to be impressed. For a man to come up the ranks the way he did, it takes vision from God, tenacity, strength, diligence, and stamina. Too many leaders now are just making up things as they go along (so there’s no real revelation from God being employed), and when the going gets tough they give up, because they have no stamina to endure the hard race. Moreover, because they had no real strong foundation on which to stand, their house that was built on the sand crumbles down. When that house built on the sand comes crashing down, all those in the house (i.e. the followers) come crashing down with it. Matthew 7:27 states, “And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” “… And great was the fall of it.” What a terrible thing it is when leaders and their followers fall because their “house” was not built on a sure foundation! So what is a sure foundation? It is God’s Truth, the truth that as a leader, you cannot do it all by yourself. We need community, for no man is an island. It is the truth that honesty and integrity will always win over lies, deception, and trying to cut corners to get a job done. It is the truth that you have to be rooted and grounded enough to be able to make a difference where you are. It is the truth that not every day will be sunshine, but the storms will come sometimes. However, when the storms come, you can stand ready for them because your foundation is strong. It is the truth that God reigns supreme and if we invite Him in to lead us and guide us, understanding that He will never leave us nor will He ever forsake us, then we cannot fail. If God is for us, then who (or even what) can stand against us?
The third thing that transformational leadership does is that it causes one to tap into gifts and talents he or she did not even know were lying dormant inside of them. See, sometimes we think we do not have certain gifts, talents, and abilities; if we are not careful, we can become envious of others when they exercise the gifts that we think we do not have. The truth is that it is not that we do not have certain gifts, talents, and abilities; rather, it is that they are lying dormant inside of us. That begs the questions: how do we awaken those gifts inside of us and once they are awakened, how should we properly use those gifts and talents? Going a bit deeper, we might ask, in what context should we use those gifts, talents, and abilities? In other words, when and where should we exercise them? Transformational leadership will bring you to the point where you are forced to explore those questions for yourself. However, it will not leave you to your own devices in the execution of those gifts, talents, and abilities until you are truly ready to soar. As a sociologist, one of the top rules in understanding the people and world around us is to realize that context is everything. To prove the point, take the example of two professional singers. One is coached and trained in singing R&B and the other is trained to sing for the opera. No one in their right mind would bring the R&B artist to sing for the opera crowd and no one would bring the opera singer to perform for the R&B crowd. People who have truly been transformed by the leadership they sit under know how, when, and where to utilize their abilities to affect positive change in their communities. Moreover, they know why they need to use their gifts and talents, and they know to whom they are to direct their energies and efforts.
Last, but not least, transformational leadership makes a person who used to only be a follower into a real transformational leader him-/herself. If like begets like, then transformational leaders beget transformational leaders. If a transformational leader is really doing his or her job well, then it is impossible for them to not have great transformational leaders come out from under them and then do that which will transform others.
When a person knows better, they are supposed to do better. When a person has been transformed from the inside out, they are supposed to want others to be transformed too, because they know just how powerful being transformed really is. Transformational leadership is not satisfied with the status quo. Transformational leadership does not rest until people have become aware of all that God made them to be and subsequently take responsibility for doing their very best to actually become all that God wants them to be. In this day and age, more transformational leadership is what we need now more than ever.
I just want to encourage and inspire as many people as I can for Jesus Christ.