Leaders with transformational leadership characteristics inspire teams to excel. They share missions and purposes that go beyond individual aspirations. They create an environment that encourages creativity, collaboration, which drives better work performance. The outcome leads to remarkable achievements and organizational success. [1]

Empowering employees through well-crafted leadership strategies has several benefits. It increases job satisfaction, productivity, and innovation. When workers feel valued, turnover decreases, and client happiness increases. And the upshot of all this is higher profits.

This article examines the key skills and characteristics of an effective team under a transformational leader. It also provides idea examples of coaching to help competent employees excel in a team using this model. Additionally, we will go over some characteristics that do not fit well in a team led by a transformational leader.

Let’s begin with a closer look at the Transformational Leadership Model.

Transformational Leadership Model

The Transformational Leadership Model inspires team members to excel in their work and personal growth. Leaders use their inherent drive, vision, and passion to create a sense of purpose and collaboration. They act as role models, promoting open communication and empowering individuals to take ownership.

Transformational Leadership Hallmarks

  • Idealized Influence (Enthusiasm, Role Modeling, Value Embodiment)
  • Individualized Consideration (Empathy, Mentorship, Purpose)
  • Inspirational Motivation (Inclusion, Optimism, Vision)
  • Intellectual Stimulation (Challenge,Creativity, Goals)

7 Team Characteristics for Transformational Leaders

The characteristics of a high-performing team can be summed up in these points:

  1. A clear understanding of common purpose and shared goals
  2. High trust and mutual respect
  3. Effective and open communication
  4. Collaboration and teamwork
  5. Good problem-solving and decision-making skills
  6. Innovation and creative thinking
  7. Flexibility and adaptability
Team Working Towards Collective Goals Sharing Insights and Strategies

1. A clear understanding of common purpose and shared goals: A clear understanding of common purpose and shared goals creates the foundation of every high-performing team. When a group knows what to work towards and why it is important, team members are far more likely to be motivated and engaged.

2. High trust and mutual respect: Trust and respect are critical qualities for building strong relationships within your team. When members trust and respect each other, they are more open and honest, which leads to better decision-making and problem-solving.

3. Effective and open communication: This is fundamental to a successful team. Members must communicate effectively, sharing vital information, ideas, and feedback. Open communication also makes members feel comfortable whenever they need to raise concerns or ask for help.

Based on these three characteristics, a highly-effective team understands its purpose. The members trust and respect each other and communicate well. These crucial elements create the baseline for better collaboration, problem-solving, innovation, and flexibility.

The next four characteristics in the list build on the foundation of the three listed above.

4. Collaboration and teamwork: Active cross-team collaboration has teams work together to improve communication, avoid siloing, and achieve common goals through the free exchange of their ideas, efforts, and skills.

5. Good problem-solving and decision-making skills: Teams with a strong aptitude for identifying and troubleshooting issues can effectively address workplace challenges and make better-informed decisions without slowing down the process to get you involved in making a decision.

6. Innovation and creative thinking: By employing a consistent review of every aspect of your operations, through their ingenuity teams transform novel ideas and what-ifs into reality through problem-solving and imaginative iterating.

7. Flexibility and adaptability: Agility requires versatility and versatile teams are much more capable and willing to tackle change proactively and adjust plans with a relative ease that allows them to thrive across new and evolving conditions.

Underperforming Team Characteristics and Solutions for Transformational Leaders

How can you be an effective transformational leader when dealing with underperformers? And what makes a team or individual ineffective in this leadership model? These are valid questions many leaders find themselves facing. Several predominant characteristics and factors contribute to underperformance. This table illustrates the elements that DO NOT work in the Transformational Leadership Model:

Lack of self-awareness
Resistance to change
Lack of alignment
Limited creativity
Poor communication
Lack of ownership
Risk aversion

Lack of Self-Awareness and Personal Growth

Team members who fail to understand their strengths and weaknesses hinder individual and collective growth. The absence of self-awareness makes it challenging to identify areas for improvement and limits the potential for development within the team.

Solution: Work to foster self-awareness among your team members to help them recognize their own strengths and weaknesses. This recognition can help employees see what is holding them back and what can help them get ahead in their careers. Encouraging personal growth will enhance their development, leading to better overall performance.

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Resistance to Change, Aversion to Innovation

Employee Quiet Quitting; Refusal to Embrace Changes in the Workplace

Those who resist change and shy away from innovation become stagnant. This resistance results in an inability to adapt to evolving circumstances. Aversion stifles progress and slows your team’s ability to embrace new ideas and opportunities to improve.

Solution: Work with resistant team members to shift their point of view and embrace change as an opportunity for growth. You can do this by building a strong company culture that values and rewards innovation at all levels. Follow this up by providing individuals with the resources needed to hone their critical thinking.

Inability to Embrace and Align with Visions and Goals

Individuals who lack alignment with your vision and goals are often disengaged and aimless. Without a shared purpose, these employees lose direction and struggle to work cohesively toward achieving transformative objectives.

Solution: Ensure all team members understand the organization’s mission. Provide clear and concise communication about the vision and create stakes for your team. Be open about what benefits they can expect from meeting goals and the challenges should they fail.

Limited Creativity, Reluctance to Think Creatively

A reluctance to think outside the box hinders the potential for innovation from individuals. It also inhibits the group’s collective ability to innovate, adapt, and seize opportunities when they arise.

Solution: Encourage thoughtful innovation to inspire your team to come up with new ideas. As a leader, show support and value for team members who do not take accepted truths at face value. Ask them open-ended questions, brainstorm, and urge them to take calculated risks.

Poor Communication Skills

Poor team communication breeds misunderstandings and severely hampers collaboration. Those who don’t communicate well or listen to others create obstacles. These obstructions hinder new ideas and the flow of information within the group.

Solution: Inspire attentive, active listening and foster open communication. This approach will help reduce misunderstandings, improve transparency across the organization, and enhance collaboration within teams.

Lack of Ownership and Accountability

US organizations are facing a crisis of responsibility and accountability. According to a 2018 study of 40,000 respondents, teams are more likely to shirk their duties without a sense of collective ownership and accountability. [2] This neglect leads to a lack of initiative and shared obligation to complete tasks and meet goals, resulting in decreased productivity.

Solution: Empowering teams with a sense of ownership and accountability will increase productivity. This can be done by setting clear goals and responsibilities. Give your team all the resources they need and show trust in them to do their jobs, find opportunities, and resolve issues.

Unwilling to Take Calculated Risks

A team that fears taking calculated risks may miss out on valuable opportunities for growth and improvement. Embracing challenges and stepping out of your comfort zone is necessary for transformational leaders and their teams to thrive. Remember that there is no perfect buoyancy to float by, you and your organization are either actively swimming or sinking.

Solution: Look more toward fostering a culture of calculated risk-taking. Offer support and encouragement for stepping out of comfort zones. And work with your teams to empower them to embrace challenges and drive growth while being constructive when addressing any failures.

When to Coach and When to Exit Underperforming Team Members

Employees don’t always make the grade despite efforts to support them. Even if you manage a sizable team, it can take only a single non-fitting worker to disrupt the entire group. Team dynamics are delicate. That’s why in effective teams every member must align with your goals, values, and ethics.

Here are five disruptive ways a non-fitting team member can disrupt your team:

  1. Can’t or won’t upskill to meet the demand
  2. Struggle to communicate effectively, or at all
  3. Demotivate others through a lack of positive contribution
  4. Clash with coworkers, causing internal conflict and tension
  5. Refuse to align with the team’s culture and vision

When to Coach an Employee?

What if the non-fitting employee has potential and just needs to work on updating various skills? In this case, you want to offer support through coaching and training initiatives. Professional development programs benefit employees at all levels (see below). Still, employee development costs time and money while adding more work to your already well-performing team’s plate. 

Therefore, carefully assess the individual’s potential for improvement before making a decision.

When to Exit an Employee?

An exit may be the only option if the employee shows no signs of commitment. Or if the misalignment continues to affect team dynamics adversely after coaching. It’s much easier to coach an employee to improve their hard skills, but intangibles like enthusiasm and initiative are much more difficult.

Team effectiveness and cohesiveness should always take priority. Whichever decision you take, aim to create and maintain a high-performing team that achieves transformational goals.

Team Coaching in Transformational Leadership

Make coaching and training available for all employees who show promise performing in the transformational leadership model. Ongoing training empowers your transformational leadership by effectively elevating team agility, camaraderie, and competency. Consider employing various coaching and training initiatives designed to inspire and retain your top talent.

Organizational culture management is crucial to the success of transformational leadership in the ever-changing workplace. A culture of continuous improvement and growth is always a great investment. [3] It leads to better job satisfaction, employee retention, and job attraction. These are significant feathers in your organization’s cap when competing for great people during the current talent pool shortage.

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How Successful Is Your Team?

Are you a transformational leader presents a simple assessment for you as a leader to evaluate where your team is today, and where you can lead them next:

  • The team is motivated to follow example due to leader influence rather than the authority the position represents
  • They resolve conflicts independently, effectively, and quickly
  • Team members bring different perspectives and ideas to the table
  • Everyone stays focused on the shared goals and strategies you outline
  • The team values group diversity and the strength that comes with it

Closing Thoughts

Effective team leadership is vital for creating high-performing, dynamic groups of workers. Leaders instill key characteristics and foster a culture of trust, communication, and creativity. Identifying and handling non-fitting members through coaching or exit decisions further enhance team effectiveness. In addition, commitment to continuous growth ensures job satisfaction and employee retention and attracts top talent.

Securing a competitive edge in America’s talent-shortage landscape is no small detail. These elements form the bedrock for achieving transformative goals and organizational excellence. Ultimately, leaders and teams work together to win.

  1. https://fbj.springeropen.com/impact-of-transformational-leadership/
  2. https://transportation.wv.gov/accountably-study/
  3. https://www.researchgate.net/organizational-culture-management/