For the better part of this year, I have been studying some patterns of leadership, looking at the traits, behavior, and actions of various leaders both locally and globally, and what really makes such leaders transformational besides the usual theoretical frameworks of being charismatic, being emotionally intelligent or serve others.
I have heard various discussions and interviews with a number of leaders here in Kenya from spiritual leaders, to business leaders, to corporate leaders, leaders in government public institutions, leaders in private institutions, leaders in non-government or not for profit institutions among many others just to try and understand the common patterns among these leaders and what is the recipe for the inspiration they share with the teams that lead to transformation in tasks and organizations they lead.
I went further to review their application of the common leadership values below that based on various empirical studies are key traits that transformational leaders portray and I summarized only key traits that cut across them as below:
- Vision; here I reviewed their abilities to understand their goals and develop clarity on the action plan with the team to achieve them. 97% of them feel this is a critical value they developed earlier in their leadership and continually nature.
- Passion; In our discussion, I gauged their personal level of fulfillment and motivation that drives them even in the midst of challenges and setbacks and how this is transferred to their teams. All leaders engaged agree that without passion they would not have achieved what they have.
- Elasticity; we review their level of mental stretch or resilience amidst adversity; and how fast they recover or recovered despite the obstacles. 82% of the leaders position this as critical but, others felt it a difficult value or skill and they are not sure if they have grasped it yet.
- Influence; where I reviewed their ability to encourage, motivate, and guide their teams to think or act differently to achieve certain goals. Without influence, there is no leadership and therefore you are not inspirational. All leaders were aligned leadership is influence.
- Devotedness; here we discussed their commitment to follow through with their teams on specific tasks they are keen on without fail or dropping; their daily schedules based on impact. All leaders were aligned on the aspect of setting daily action plans that are both non-negotiable and negotiable to avoid being swayed by the daily wild winds of activities.
- Pliancy; we discussed and reviewed their level of preparedness of the mind and character to accept and respond to change. For a leader to transform and inspire their teams this level of mental and character strengthen is key, which was unanimously agreed by all discussed leaders.
- Probity; their perspective on honesty, genuineness and focus on doing things right or the right thing. 80% of the leaders agreed probity is what they aspire to be and most were, however, some unwarranted business ethical issues and dilemmas sometimes crop in, but they strive to ensure they make the best or closest ethical decisions.
- Compassion; their ability to connect with the feelings and emotions of their teams and understand their actions and behaviors.
- Advancement; their strong-willed, non-negotiable focus on their continual learning, and personal growth.
The above values and skills if I could call them so, were common and at a higher scale for all the leaders, I interacted with and discussed on matters leadership and what has supported them over the years as inspirational and transformational leaders in their spaces.
Based on the above, at Step-Afrique we went ahead and do some further analysis and summarized the above into three main focus leadership areas that all such transformational leaders have developed over the years and are still developing at the specific level that continues to support them to inspire, and transform the various leadership spaces they are in and we called this Step-Afrique Leadership Loop (SALL). This loop as can be seen below focuses on three areas of any leader and if well-developed will be the recipe for inspiration and transformation in them, their teams, and in the organizations they operate from.
Step-Afrique Leadership Loop (SALL) has been originally developed by Gilbert Angana (PhD Scholar) and CEO of step-Afrique based on engagements, with various local leaders considered inspirational in their spaces and study of with various leaders across the global on patterns, traits and actions.
If an organization can focus on developing these three critical focus leadership areas, then they are likely to have optimal productivity from their leaders, and consequently, their teams will have a long term transformation in their organizations; The Step-Afrique Leadership Loop covers the: IN (Mind of the leader); OUT (Will of the leader): and UP (Heart of the leader). to break t down further;
- The IN – MIND covers the aspects that develop the leaders Self-Leadership capabilities and specifically from our research and findings develops three critical areas of developing the leaders: Self-Esteem; Self-Awareness & Self-Management.
- The OUT – WILL covers the aspects that develop the leaders’ Strategic-Leadership capabilities and touches on developing leaders on their Thinking, Action, & Influence to enable them to be strategic. You cannot develop your OUT as a leader without developing your IN.
- The UP – HEART is the result of the above two and the most critical aspect of a transformational leader, but it cannot be developed in isolation without developing the IN and the OUT. This is the expression of the leaders’ Self-Efficacy, Relational Awareness/Connection, and Environmental Mindedness. This is the apex of Conscious Leadership and leaders at this level are truly inspiring and transformational in every aspect of their lives.
In conclusion, it is important to understand that these aspects are also intertwined in as much as they are anyone sequential and anyone can develop their capabilities and be inspirational and eventually transformational, but it is a conscious journey that they have to take to continually develop their IN, their OUT, and nature their UP and in that loop. Even as transformational leaders today, they still are in this vicious circle of frequently developing their IN-OUT-UP at their level for them to maintain their focus, and inspiration across their lifetime.
This is what we specifically at Ste-Afrique, to help individuals and organizations develop their leaders through the Step-Afrique Leadership Loop (SALL) with customized, globally tested leadership programs that are also John Maxwell Certified Programs. We walk with you on a journey to continuously help you develop your IN (Mind) so as you improve on your Self-Leadership; Develop your OUT (Will) so as you develop your Strategic Leadership: and finally nature your UP (Heart) to start applying your Conscious Leadership in all aspects of your life.
Article and Research by Gilbert Ang’ana CEO Step-Afrique who is also a PhD Scholar in the area of Organizational Leadership Development. For details of this contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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