Transformational Leadership

by Roy Ratnavel

Leadership is never about whether you added more to those who are self-motivated and perform at a high level, it is whether you provided enough for those who have too little of these qualities. It is about seeing the potential in those who do not see it in themselves — and, by being an advocate for others and believing in them even more than they do. There is a huge distinction between a manager and a leader: a manager does things right; a leader does the right things.

Most managers fail to comprehend that their jobs are not about personal achievements, but about enabling others to achieve. Leadership can be so stressful that managers internalize their stress, making them insecure — and, self-centered. This causes them to inadequately support their teams, resulting in a loss of trust among team members. The manager will be seen as someone in authority, not as a leader.

Individuals in leadership roles need to project confidence even when they don’t feel confident. Managers are so often internally focused that they are unaware of what they are projecting. Micromanaging, as an example, demonstrates a manager’s deficiency of faith in the team that they can get the job done. A manager projecting confidence builds a team by enabling others to accomplish. The responsibility of a leader is to serve the team so that the team may better serve the customer.

A leader must demonstrate and delegate tasks for others to accomplish. Insecure managers often don’t delegate as much as they should because they fear losing control — and, being seen as burdening staff. Delegation is not an abdication of responsibility. Although, sometimes a leader must take charge and drive change forward. The best leaders often take a back seat and build talent by delegating the driving to the team.

To do the right things, a leader need to inspire others, demonstrate trust, act with integrity and honesty — and, show commitment to creating new leaders by being an advocate for the team. Talent is something people are born with. But skill is something they learn and earn. This a lifelong pursuit. A true leader coaches for real skills and encourages the team members to develop into their full potential.

Losing integrity, will lead to losing the advocacy of leadership. Leaders must always act with integrity and ethics — and, display a real sense of purpose by:

  • exemplifying their most important values and beliefs
  • specifying the importance of having a strong sense of purpose
  • considering the moral and ethical consequences of their decisions
  • emphasizing the importance of a collective sense of mission

Inspiring leadership is about leading by example with great generosity of team spirit. A true leader is not divisive, mean-spirited, self-promoting and other-blaming. Instead, a true leader brings out the best in others and becomes an advocate for the team. Gives credit where it is due — and, accepts responsibility without deflection. A pragmatic leader is inspirational even when times are bleak by demonstrating a positive view of the future — while, not being Pollyanna.

Roy Ratnavel is Executive Vice President, CI Financial and Head of Distribution, CI Global Asset Management, and serves on the Advisory Council for Tamils in Finance.