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  • Writer's pictureDr. Cristina DiPietropolo

Attributes of a Transformational Leader: The Good and The Bad

Transformational leadership is one of the most important approaches for understanding and influencing employee effectiveness.[1] It is a supportive style of business leadership that inspires employees to higher levels of motivation and performance. This leadership style can create a culture of trust and innovation within an organization[2] and help teams come together for a specific purpose. In a previous post, we offered practical tips to guide you on the path to becoming a transformational leader. Today, we will expand our discussion and define this team leadership style's most common attributes and elaborate on the good and the bad.

Entertaining New Ideas

Gallup researchers have found that "globally, one in four employees strongly agree that their opinions count at work," which could result in a ten percent increase in employee productivity.[3] New ideas are a center point in this leadership style and entertaining new ideas is a great way to create employee buy-in and help your team stay inspired. It includes engaging the entire group within the process, which can make a job more fun and enjoyable for many people. However, sometimes it's possible to entertain too many new ideas, creating confusion for your team and limiting effectiveness.

Tips for Entertaining New Ideas

  • Make a deliberate effort to entertain new ideas from your employees.[2]

  • Bring teams together to foster innovation and collaboration, recognizing that success is dependent on the entire team.[2]

  • Create a "ranking system" for new ideas with your team, then focus on the top two and table the others for a later time.

Remaining Adaptable

In today's rapidly evolving business environment, adaptability is crucial for transformational leaders. This leadership style understands the significance of adapting to changing market conditions, and leaders must inspire their teams while simultaneously focusing on the future. For this reason, remaining adaptable and keeping an open mind when presented with new approaches can play a vital role in how you are perceived by your team and on your organization's success.

Tips for Remaining Adaptable

  • Recognize the calculated risk-taking is sometimes necessary to effect change.

  • Have a genuine curiosity for different approaches, which can be a catalyst for creating innovative solutions.

  • Maintain your vision and focus on the direction your organization needs to take to remain competitive.

Watch Your Ego

To be a transformational leader, you must leave your ego at the door! "Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another."[4] Unfortunately, the higher leaders advance within an organization's ranks, the more they are at risk of getting an inflated ego.[5] As we rise in position, we naturally acquire more power, and as a leader, you must be careful how to exercise that power. Your team deserves a leader who views themselves as a member of the team, so avoid pulling rank or overruling employees when possible.

Tips for Watching Your Ego

  • Don't believe the hype! Employees are more likely to focus on pleasing their leader by listening more, agreeing more, and laughing at their jokes merely because of the leader's role.[5]

  • Have accountability partners, individuals with the confidence to speak up who won't feed your ego.

  • Recognize that an inflated ego prevents leaders from acknowledging mistakes, which can hinder their growth professionally.[5]


Effective leadership is crucial for organizations, and it's essential to consider ways leaders can manage, transform, and enhance the work environment for their employees.[1] Finding the right attributes as a transformational leader can yield some truly incredible results. To be successful in this leadership style, focus on creating an environment that is open and exciting. Your employees will feel the difference, which can help them be inspired to play their part in the organization. When in doubt, lead by example!

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. If you want to learn more, our Leadership Development training for practitioners contains all the materials you'll need to strengthen your leadership skills to help you cultivate emotional connections with your employees or clients. Email us at to schedule a meeting to learn more about how we can partner with you to turn your leadership goals into reality!

Dr. Cristina Rosario DiPietropolo is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Leader Essentials Group, with extensive experience across multiple industries and highly skilled in the areas of strategic planning, organizational behavior, human resource management, change management, and Leadership. Over ten years of teaching experience as a university professor of management, with a special focus on Leadership in entrepreneurship, organizational behavior, and international management.

_________________________________________________________________________ [1] Cleavenger, D. J., & Munyon, T. P. (2013). It's how you frame it: Transformational leadership and the meaning of work. Business Horizons, 56(3), 351-360. [2] YScounts (2019). 10 Transformational Leadership Characteristics. Retrieved February 18, 2021, from [3] Clifton, J., & Harter, J. (2019). Gallup Press. New York, NJ: Gallup Press. [4] Maxwell, J.C. (2001). The power of leadership. David C. Cook, Colorado Springs, USA. [5] Hougaard, R., & Carter, J. (2018). Ego is the enemy of good leadership. Harvard Business Review.

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