94. Transactional vs. Transformational

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Smooth Operator/Podcast/94. Transactional vs. Transformational

94. Transactional vs. Transformational


What does it mean to be a transformational leader?

When we think about leadership training, much of what we’ve been trained to do is transactional.

Do this… great! Do that… done!

But we all know that type of leadership will only take you so far and wear you out in the long run. It’s exhausting and requires continuous oversight over what team members are doing.

To level up your own leadership, you need to embrace becoming a transformational leader.

Discover more in today’s episode

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Welcome, smooth operators to today's episode. So glad to have you here. As we dive into something that honestly took me a while to personally overcome took me a while to really be able to make this transition. But when I did, it opened up a whole lot of doors, it opened up just tremendous potential for everyone that followed me for everyone that I was leading. And ultimately, for myself, because I was able to clear a whole lot from what I was doing, and able to elevate myself to a much higher level. So prior to this, I was using what we can only call as transactional management. So most of us, if we manage people, from the first days, we are managing people, it was largely transactional in nature. So my first leadership role was I was 16 years old, I was a junior swing manager at McDonald's. Yeah, I know fast food, right. But I tell you, what about fast food, and anyone that has worked, it knows this to be true, you learn a whole lot about how it feels to be treated like shit. And I think there's a lot of life lessons in that because you learn how to treat people going forward.

So anyway, but that management role by its very nature, it's transactional. It's a series of transactions, meaning you tell someone to clean that counter, they clean the counter, they're supposed to stock the McNuggets, sauces, they stock McNugget sauces, you see something, you tell something to do someone to do it, and they do it to series of transactions. And each time they finish a transaction, they must come back to you for the next transaction. So it just like constant regurgitation. And like, the manager spends their whole time just pointing their fingers all day. Now that works in some regards. Like in that role, it does work. You know, it's dealing with very, very tactile nature, job, various little tasks that have to be done. But it's hard to maintain. Especially for most, I mean, most of you are in the online industry, right? We don't have that geographic proximity to our people. And we have bigger things to do, right, we have other projects, we're working on. Spending our whole day pointing the finger on what to do. It's just not cool. It's not something that we want to do. And as a result, it becomes exhausting. So as I was starting to really grow the team, we were adopt, you know, we I was in that full integrator role, which I have, you know, some feelings on the integrator role, how its taught in EOS.

Not particularly a big fan of it, but that's neither here nor there. But I was basically operating the whole team, through some transformational leadership, mostly transactional management. And it was exhausting. And it definitely has a cap. It has a place where it's no longer scalable. And I can't put $1 figure on that, but it's more on and outputs and inputs level. You know, once you reach a certain stage of growth, it doesn't work anymore, and you must, you know, transition what you're doing. In order to best serve your team best serve the mission best grow the company requires your management styles to change how you're approaching your daily job must change. And that ultimately led me into transformational leadership. That's kind of a loaded definition. But let's just really just go over some of the key considerations and key care qualities of transformational leadership. The first is, let's look at the traits of transformational leaders. transformational leaders are exceptional practicing self awareness. They know how their voice comes across. They know how they're being perceived. They're self aware, they remain incredibly open minded.

They like to receive new ideas are able to process them able to change their own direction when needed. They're very good at motivating, ultimately setting the vision for their company, for their team members, so their team members now have a pathway to follow. And part of the way they do that is they build trust. So when we see this in action, there are a couple of various different things that we can take from this. The first is that a transfer of Meishan, a leader will always question that old adage, this is the way we've always done things like we don't believe in that we're going to take on the status quo, challenge assumptions. And we encourage that mindset in our employees. And we want to change things we want to have growth. And really empower those below us or lower on the food chain, to do it from their level as well. So we can come up with new opportunities and innovative way of thinking. Because of that, we're good at challenging all assumptions, take risk, really solicit our team members input and ideas. We're not afraid to ask someone what they think you'll sometimes find a manager who doesn't want to necessarily solicit ideas, because they're afraid it might challenge their own. We want our team members to ask questions, ultimately achieve a level of autonomy and be able to be more effective through that autonomy to execute their daily task. We're really good at building culture and transmitting that sense of larger culture, to our to the individuals on the team, our employees, our employees have a feeling of ownership in the culture and the company's goals. So and with that ownership comes some independence that they have within the workplace, they're able to do things without needing our input all the time.

And through all this, you know, we get a certain level of trust, respect and admiration from our fellow employees. Because we solicit their opinions, we open their ideas, we don't micromanage. Instead, we're putting out a clear vision. And then trusting our employees to make decisions within that vision. That's not by fear, or anything like that they're seeing us do it. We're sharing our own challenges. The things that we're overcoming or this is all to provide an example. And to set a high standard expectations, we're modeling that when we model that, like we earn a newt another level of respect and trust, and that will helps us to see or to steer decision making. We can do that within a Slack thread, or on a zoom call, we're able to steer it our way, which is really where our foundation of influence comes from. So we're really able to move the direct the organization in one way or another. But do it through group, exercise, do it through contribution, even though we're steering things towards a certain way. We're steering it towards the wave where we want it to be, if that makes sense. Like we it's a predetermined outcome. We know where we want this to go. We're working to bring it towards that way. Now, how can we do this on the tactical level, like think of different things that we can do to become a more transformational leader?

The first is just as simple as it is. So you must have systems and processes things for your employees to follow. They have to be able to work independently of you and to ask as few questions as possible, that gives them that autonomy when working within their respective tasks. I'm also a big fan of working with my employees to create their to do list to create their dailies, their daily sprints empowers them and they have ownership in actually helping to create it which Amit is doubly good. They're much more likely to be excited about it because they helped create it then

don't have agency. I'm also a big proponent of just more regular one to one meetings with your teammates. I've I've We've talked about the value of having a monthly one to one on a much previous episode, definitely go back and take a look at that one, monthly one to ones are huge. But any opportunity that we can utilize to solicit feedback is quite nice, quite helpful. And it can be with things that aren't necessarily related. Think of how, imagine you're launching an entirely new course program product line.

And the team helps you pick the logo, like let's say you go to 99 designs, you get out for potential ones, and you let the team vote on it. The soliciting their feedback, making them part of the process. These are all very small things to do, but quite big in how well they help us make that full transition. And ultimately, just being being the person that creates a safe space for your employees, a place where they can come to express themselves, their fears, their anxieties, their apprehensions, their joy. Their victories. When we're that person they share those things with were really cementing our role in their lives. That gives us just a huge amount of gravitas, huge amount of influence. But it all comes just by being more open, more communicative for you, if you are the introvert that thinks you can't do this step into the role. Okay, that means you need to do some transformation on your own. You need to be able to look in the mirror and know the things that you have to do.

There's ways you can do it as an introvert and still, you know, prosper. But it just requires that deliberate step in this direction to say I will

find ways to embolden my team members, to give them autonomy to give them purpose, a purpose greater than what they have.

And all this over a very, it doesn't take that long to start seeing a difference in what your team is doing. But over the near to long term, you're going to see tremendous growth. And as a result, tremendous new opportunities, come to your organization because of how your team is operating. So take a moment. Today, I just think about how you are leading your team. Maybe do some reading on different leadership styles, see which one you identify with. And if you can adopt just half of the traits of a transformational leader, your team will be better off for it, you're not going to be able to do all of this overnight. So just you know, give yourself a little bit of grace, it's going to take time to adapt your own leadership styles to fit this. But keep the end in mind and you will get there. I hope this helped. I'm a super geek about exploring different things in leadership and how to make a big influence in our teams. As you can probably tell, I just know the difference it has made for me, and I hope the very same for you. So get after it. Go lead your teams in the best way. You know how? Because you're an operator and what do operators do? They lead the way.

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