How Transformational Leadership Works: It Takes GUTSY Women and BOLD Men

Summary: We’re on the cusp of new ways of relating to each other. It’s going to take all of us, GUTSY women and BOLD men. The old way is about power, prestige, and prominence. The new method, transformational leadership, is still being designed. Here are ways to “prime the pump.”

The new and better way to transformational leadership includes cooperation, caring, and compassion.

My question is, “What else needs to be in the mix?”

Here are a few thoughts of mine. I’d love to hear ideas about what the new paradigm of transformational leadership should include from all of you, men and women.

Transformational leadership means becoming self-aware.

The best starting point is to observe and understand the invisible links from the past to the present.

Therefore, let’s take some time and research to understand patterns from the past. This study leads to a more profound sense of self-awareness.

In other words, that is how that we can learn which patterns of behavior meant for survival have outlived their usefulness. Why? First, we need to know before we can make appropriate changes.

Let me explain: Has anybody been to Salem, Massachusetts, on Halloween? It’s a “madhouse” (pardon the pun) of psychics on every corner ready to do a reading. All year round in Salem, there is great information to learn about the witch trials of 1692.

Why bother learning about what happened so long ago?

Become a transformational leader by making the invisible visible.

Most importantly, it’s essential to understand the past to transform how many of us respond in present times.

For example, way back then, women, bona fide healers, worked with herbs and their intuition, considered, you guessed it, witches. Thus, women learned to “shut up” to keep their knowledge undercover or suffer an ugly death.

Indeed, no tiny baby girl was ever born who woke from a nap and said, “I can’t wait to grow up and hide my abilities. I will grow up to be a pleaser and only say “yes” to everyone.”

This knack of being a pleaser, rescuer, or victim came from some basic desire to survive.

Transformational leaders question “why” and “how” for positive changes.

Therefore, an important question: Could the subtle memories about ancestors who did not shut up and burned at the stake make present-day women wary of speaking up? Hummmm, exciting thought.

What leaders can learn from a trip to Greek mythology.

Let’s take a moment and go back even further—a visit to Greek legends. If your name is Sandra or Cassandra, or even Sandy, pay strict attention. And if your name is Apollo, you too should pay strict attention.

Here’s a typical love story: The god Apollo fell in love with princess Cassandra. He gave her a great gift, more than a gorgeous bracelet or trip to The Four Seasons; it was the gift of prophecy. So far, so good.

The story continues. Now, the good news is this gift was non-refundable. Yet, when Cassandra did not get all mushy about Apollo, he was a scorned lover and wanted revenge. Yup, it happens all the time. The story continues.

So, the only thing that mad as hell Apollo could do, what any self-respecting Greek god would do, was to put a curse on Cassandra; make it so no one would listen. Thus, no one believed her when she warned her beloved homeland; Troy would be destroyed.

Transformational leadership we need now: speak out and be heard.

Ancient Greece, witch trials, women brushed aside when they saw where things were heading. Maybe no more. Thank you, #metoo.

In the same vein, each of you has a story about a time someone told you to “shut up” and be a pleaser. Each of you also has a story about when it was essential to take a risk and “speak up.”

Please, share your stories with us. When did you shut up, and when did you speak up? What happened?

Male or female, when did you ignore security and survival to stand up and be heard?

You may want to take the leadership success quiz to determine what patterns hold you back and what to do about it.

Next week I have a super good story about a woman executive at a great company who learned to move from pleaser to truth-teller and what that has done to up her happiness quotient. Transformational leaders take outdated and flip it over to make it ready for the new times we live in now. Stay tuned.

Here’s to your success,

Sylvia

PS. I am updating my book “GUTSY: How Women Leaders Make Change,” which will be ready on Amazon in January. Click here to get it a copy of the new introduction. So much has transformed in the decade since I first published the book. And it is an excellent read for men as well as women leaders.

Sylvia Lafair

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