Institute for Transformational Leadership

Leadership Principles

The Institute for Transitional Leadership has established a set of Leadership Principles as a guide for emerging and current leaders. Our set of principles act as our "credo" for teaching, examining, and living leadership. Of course, our principles are closely tied to the reality in which leaders must lead, so it's first important to understand context.

The Context of Leading in Today's World

  1. The complexities and challenges of today’s world can no longer be solved by “command and control” leadership, which is giving way to more collaborative, consultative, and shared models of leadership.
  2. Today’s leaders must possess the ability to coach and mentor effectively, especially with the transition from the Baby Boomer generation to the Millennials.
  3. The nature of work is changing as professional and personal lives blend because of changing technology, work expectations, and environments.
  4. Diversity has become a strategic imperative since today’s challenges require diverse perspectives and solutions – not only diversity of ethnicity, race, and religion – but also of gender, age, and individual thought.
  5. Long-term strategic planning is no longer effective. Leaders must cultivate an organizational culture that embraces flexibility, adaptability, and rigorous scenario planning.
  6. Leaders must acquire critical perspective and the ability to reflect continuously, which translates to understanding the past but also taking a long-term view of the impact of their decisions.

Our Leadership Principles

  1. Modern challenges require new approaches to leadership, and developing leaders in the 21st century context requires attention to all faculties.
  2. Transformations are not the result of charismatic leadership, but are the result of discipline and extremely hard work.
  3. We explore and develop transformational models of leadership and how to think about leadership from a transformational perspective.
  4. Transformational change requires conscious leadership: the transformation begins within.
  5. Transformational leadership is an interactive process, and not the work of one great leader.
  6. Leadership development must focus on expanding the capacity to lead effectively, rather than simply teaching skills.
  7. Transformational leadership draws on three energies: the energy of a big dream, the energy of “inside-outside”, and the energy of working at every level.
  8. Transformational leadership seeks to motivate followers by transforming their conceptions of self and their private goals to coincide with the larger purposes of the group.
  9. We support the development of the growth mindset in leaders.
  10. Individuals and groups have the power to shape history but must work with interdependencies.
  11. Today’s leaders must understand how to develop, empower, and mobilize networks. Networks allow the emergence of movements. Movements often lead to social, cultural, and systemic change. 
  12. Transformational leadership development is multi-disciplinary and draws on theory and science from psychology, linguistics, neuroscience, sociology, and organization development. Transformational leadership development combines theory and practice in a highly experiential, reflective, and feedback-rich learning process.

Core Capacities of Transformational Leaders

Creates a Vision:

  • Evokes the energy of a big dream, the energy of “inside-out,” and the energy of working at every level
  • Works from mission and purpose and helps others connect their work with higher purpose
  • Creates and communicates inspiring, aspirational and attainable vision
  • Frames new narrative for implementation of vision
  • Helps others navigate change by orienting people about where they are in the change process, what has happened, what is happening and what must happen next
  • Champions new behaviors and actions, including risk taking and overcoming fear of failure
  • Provides context for vision, strategy, and action
  • Ensures clear prioritization for own contributions and for the organization
  • Facilitates multi-option thinking (i.e. choices)
  • Uses the energy aroused by those who oppose them or who are outside to forward the realization of their own dream.

Communicates Through Listening:

  • Communicates effectively through deep listening, a unifying narrative, and skillful inquiry, demonstrating an understanding of how to use conversation to inspire and move others to action and establish positive accountability
  • Understands how to communicate to stakeholders during the change process
  • Creates strategic narratives and plans
  • Convenes and facilitates conversations that open possibilities and outline key actions needed for implementation.

Optimizes Resources:

  • Optimizes existing resources to meet most important challenges
  • Prioritizes and focuses action
  • Makes decisions and commits to action.

Enrolls Others:

  • Inspires others with compelling vision that inspires them to act boldly
  • Builds shared perspective (helps people see the whole thing)
  • Influences coalitions towards desired outcomes
  • Builds and leverages networks; knows how to influence social networks
  • Creates shared intention
  • Creates shared sense of urgency
  • Gains “buy in” from the group
  • Reinforces the positive to build confidence and hope in the group.

Develops Others:

  • Facilitates learning and results
    • Creates awareness
    • Designs actions
    • Plans and sets goals
    • Manages progress and accountability
  • Engages, develops and empowers others, tapping into their core strengths and helping build their confidence and capabilities
  • Develops transformational thinking in others.

Coordinates Action:

  • Establishes cohesive group
  • Identifies few, most important things vs. all the important things
  • Evaluates most valuable activities and best use of resources.

Builds an Intentional Culture:

  • Shapes culture
  • Understands shadow side of culture
  • Gives and receives feedback with positive accountability
  • Gains or communicates clear and committed yes's and no’s
  • Holds true to commitments, building credibility.

Embodies Presence - Models the Way:

  • Develops own capacity for transformational thinking
  • Engages in the journey of inner development to acquire new capacities
  • Leads from inner guidance and sound analysis
  • Connects with the bigger picture and the “ecology of the whole”
  • Co-creates relationships by building trust and sustained connection
  • Shows genuine concern for the welfare and future of others
  • Continuously demonstrates personal integrity, honesty and sincerity
  • Accepts responsibility for making a difference
  • Establishes clear agreements and expectations with others
  • Keeps promises
  • Uses dialogue to harvest group’s wisdom
  • Withdraws projections to enhance clarity and cooperation
  • Fosters emotional connection to enhance experience and performance of group
  • Demonstrates respect for others’ perceptions, learning style, personal being
  • Harvests wisdom of own experiences
  • Embodies an authentic, credible presence
  • Sets the foundation for the organization by modeling and upholding ethical leadership
  • Manages self and own reactivity to provide balanced, mindful leadership; leads with mindfulness and equanimity
  • Brings a quality of embodied leadership presence that inspires confidence, trust, respect and loyalty from others
  • Invites creativity and innovation.
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