5 habits of transformational leaders
Take a leaf out of Jobs, Musk and Zuckerberg's books
Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk: all are examples of business leaders who have since become legend for their ability to inspire staff and create some of the most innovative and successful companies of all time.
Sure, they all have their quirks and downsides - Jobs had a famously short temper, for one - but we've identified five habits these three leaders share that could help you become a transformational leader too, by listening to your team, making big decisions and understanding when to improvise.
Listen to your peers
Listening is a vastly underrated skill in many areas of business, and perhaps nowhere more so than at the highest levels of leadership. Appreciating feedback, both from customers and from employees, is crucial for any organisation. If employees don't feel like they are listened to and appreciated, not only will they be less loyal and happy, you also run the risk that you may not hear about issues that could turn into existential problems for the business later down the line.
Confident, decisive action is something that is always respected by employees. Rather than dithering around trying to decide what to do, you should take firm actions. This shows that you're confident in yourself, but also ensures that staff aren't left rudderless while they wait for directions.
That doesn't mean you should act immediately on instinct - consulting relevant datasets, listening to peers' views and examining the context of your market are all important facets of picking the right course of action - but it's vital not to drown in the details.
Respond to your environment
As tempting as it might be to imagine, no company exists in a bubble. If your industry, company, executives or employees are affected by an issue, burying your head in the sand solves nothing. Acknowledging and addressing problems like cyber security, discrimination and social responsibility may be difficult or uncomfortable, but it will earn you the respect and loyalty of your staff. Just look at what happens when you leave these issues unresolved for too long.
Stick to your vision
When examining the great leaders who made business history, you won't find many that ran their companies based on committees and focus groups. While responding to feedback is important, a strong leader needs to have a singular vision for the company, and to stick to it in the face of adversity. Leadership occasionally means following your gut, even if those around you are telling you that you're on the wrong track.
Abandon the plan
There are four key steps to follow when preparing for any endeavour: make the plan, execute the plan, expect the plan to go off the rails, and throw away the plan. In short, leaders should always be prepared to change course if circumstances dictate. This doesn't mean you should go for Plan B every time things get tricky, but leaders that can remain flexible when faced with a difficult circumstance will never find themselves backed into a corner.