his blog post this week, John Maxwell talked about transformational
leadership. I love this topic. Helping others become transformational in their
leadership lights a fire in me like nothing else does.
John is right in saying, “We need men and women who are
committed to take action in order to make a difference in the world. We need
I wanted to respond to what John wrote because I believe
this is one of the most important things we could be talking about as leaders.
It is timely and it is necessary.
John taught us 5 characteristics all transformational
leaders possess. How I apply each characteristic is by asking myself a question:
1. What or who is being overlooked?
I have come to realize that how I view things determines how
I do things. Dave Ramsey said, “Organizations are not limited by their
opportunity; they are limited by their leader.” This all begins with what the
leader is able to see—because, as John said, transformational leaders see
things others do not see.
In order to be a transformational leader, you must first
begin viewing things through the lens of service. Start asking yourself, “How
can I help more people?” and then a deeper question, “How can I help people
more?” When you take the focus off yourself and place it on others, you are
ready to be transformational.
2. What is being left unsaid that needs to be heard?
In John’s blog, he wrote about how transformational leaders
say things others do not say. He
then referenced Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech at the Lincoln Memorial.
Imagine being in the crowd that day to witness one of the most pivotal speeches
in the history of our country. Imagine being in MLK’s shoes on those steps
delivering those groundbreaking words of unity. How would you have handled that
Transformational leaders are willing to speak up when there
is a better way. I have begun asking myself a question in team meetings: “Is
there something that is not being said because no one is willing to say it?”
And if so, “what are the consequences, both positive and negative, of speaking
up about it?” If it is worth it, I always speak up.
3. Who needs to borrow my belief?
Believing that you can make a difference changes everything—but
that is only the beginning. John says it best: “One is too small a number to
achieve greatness.” It takes a team pushing forward together to achieve
Transformational leaders don’t just believe in themselves,
they also inspire belief in their people. Transformational leaders believe
things others don’t believe.And it
makes all the difference.
Next time you have a team meeting, spend 10 minutes talking
about the impact that your team is having on the lives of others. Don’t just
highlight big victories; look for the small ones as well. As you honor the
individuals on your team for making a difference through their work, your
team’s commitment to the greater mission will increase dramatically.
4. Where am I finding my passion right now?
John wrote about the The John Maxwell Team coaches leading
roundtables around the world and their passion for transformation. I will be
with thousands of them this weekend for our International Maxwell Certification
Event in Orlando and could not be more excited. I take every opportunity I can
to be around these coaches because their passion is contagious.
When you are passionate about what you are doing, you will
be willing to go the second mile. And when I am around these coaches and
witness their passion for helping others, I can’t help but get excited about it
as well. They are the perfect example of John’s teaching: these transformational
leaders feel things others do not feel.
John teaches three questions that will help you discover
what you are truly passionate about: 1) What makes you laugh? 2) What makes you
cry? 3) What makes you sing? I ask myself these questions on a regular basis
because it helps me realign my focus to what I am most passionate about.
5. Where can I make a difference?
When your sense of purpose is strong enough, it will propel
you to do what others aren’t willing to do. The only questions a
transformational leader needs to answer are, “What kind of difference can I make?”
and “How big of a difference can it be?”
John says it this way, “I would rather try something big
that is almost impossible than something small that won’t make a difference.”
I want to challenge you with this question—what is the most significant thing that you could do with your life? Once you have your answer, set a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) and make a plan to reach it, because transformational leaders do things others do not do.
What is stopping you from becoming a source of
transformation in the world? John is right; the world is waiting for you. Now
it’s your turn!