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Top 5 Characteristics of a Transformational Leader

Everyone knows the name of a transformational leader, someone who demonstrated that the sky was the limit and helped others along the way. A Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program studies the differences between adequate leaders and those who transform their circumstances and the people around them. Transformational leaders have many qualities, but this list identifies the most important leadership characteristics they need to change the world. Graduates of this program know how to enact excellent leadership team development with the people they train.

1. Strong Leadership Ego

It can be exceptionally difficult to balance a person’s ego in the pursuit of ambition. After all, it is all too easy to shove others aside for personal gain. Good leadership qualities include the ability to share the credit, so that everyone gets acknowledgment for their hard work. Transformational leaders also understand how important it is to take criticism with grace, not by passing the buck or blaming others for their own shortcomings.

They freely admit their flaws and work to improve them or balance them. Of course, they do not simply let everyone else insult or denigrate them. Instead, they take strength from their gifts and use those talents to overcome their weaknesses. In all things, an exceptional leader seeks to share the limelight with those who deserve it.

2. Balanced Risk-Taking

Some people are afraid to take risks, knowing that if they misstep, it might cost them money, the success of a business or educational program, or even their jobs. However, those who always stay the course become likely to stagnate. Forbes notes that a lot of people avoid accepting a risky proposition because they exaggerate the likelihood of failure and the seriousness of the consequences. Anything that is not familiar, from a new product to an untested educational initiative, calls for a person who is willing to put themselves on the line for possible big rewards.

However, effective leadership skills require a person not to simply run blindly into the night. They focus on risk management, the idea that they can reduce the probability of a mistake by using:

  • flexibility in the types of options they choose
  • speed in the development and execution of events
  • control over the most obvious risks

This allows them to innovate without chancing too much of an institution’s future.

3. Collaboration among Team Members

In any organization, the primary goal is to achieve success for the group. This requires collaboration, because one person simply cannot reasonably hold all the decision-making power. A transformational leader is exceptional at encouraging discussion between a group of experts in the topic or industry. They understand that the beauty is not merely in having the idea, but also in having the sense to know which ones will succeed.

Collaboration does not simply refer to brainstorming, of course. Leaders encounter critics all the time – those who do not like their ideas and think they are making a terrible decision. However, people who have the best leadership styles do not become cynical to these people or allow them to derail the institution’s overall goals. They take the benefits and disadvantages to a product, plan, or program and they use that collective knowledge to make the best decisions.

4. Creativity and Autonomy

Ultimately, a leader needs to collaborate because one day, they will no longer be with the organization. They have to rely on others to step up with the creativity to innovate, and the autonomy to work hard without someone handing them instructions.

Those with educational leadership skills know how to inspire creativity and autonomy in part because they possess these qualities in spades. They understand the crux of leadership team development: the ability to think for themselves and not do everything by the book. They know that, in a business or an educational institution, they are teaching people to become the leaders of tomorrow. With this collective wisdom, they can show others the importance of mastering the rules autonomously, so they can use their creativity to break those rules like an artist.

5. Focus on Scale and Goals

One of the most obvious transformational leaders in recent history is the late Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple, Inc. Jobs’ biographer argued that the most important leadership characteristics Jobs had to share with future leaders was his laser-like focus and his determination to simplify. He had the skill to identify the source of an organization’s needs, and the ability to know how much work it takes to meet them. That is how he turned Apple around from a failing business to one of the World’s most powerful.

As he advised Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, leaders cannot waste too much time trying out every idea; they cannot be everything to everyone, because that simply leads to more mediocre results. Leaders following in Jobs’ footsteps know how to avoid extending their influence far beyond their reach, and that keeping objectives simple will lead to a more impressive end for the institution.

The transformational leaders that will inspire the wave of the future in education and industry have many effective leadership skills. They know how to keep their egos in check, and the best way to take risks. They show others how to create and build without guidance, and work together for the benefit of everyone. Most importantly, they can keep the organization focused on the most important tasks. A Master's in Educational Leadership program teaches students how to instill these good leadership qualities in others in order to inspire and guide change.

Gain the knowledge you need with a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program. With this program you will dive into the differences between an adequate leader and one that transforms situations and employees in an organization. You will learn how to enact excellent leadership team development with your employees and excel in the skills you need.