Transformational Leadership: Why I Made the Team After Coming in Last

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Synopsis

To support people’s full potential, we must use our own creative thinking.

Are You a Transformational Leader?

When I was a freshman in college, I wanted to get into a new sport. Rumor had it that you didn’t need crew experience to try out for the women’s rowing team. Instead, the try-out consisted of a five-mile run from Evanston along Sheridan Road, past Plaza del Lago in Wilmette, and back (for all the Chicagoan readers out there).

Having played basketball and tennis in high school, I had run sprints but never a long distance.

Out of at least 100 runners, I came in dead last. 

But I made the team. 

The captain of the varsity crew ran with me, slowly, the entire way. It was so embarrassing.

“I don’t understand how I could make the team if I’m last,” I gasped as I struggled for breath.

“Oh, we’ll get you into running shape,” she said. “It’s perseverance we’re looking for.”

Boy was she right. Multiple practices a day, including runs, weights, and sprints on the rowing machine did the trick.

I worked hard, but I’d never have done it if that varsity captain hadn’t evidenced the four characteristics of a transformational leader:

1. She served as a role model, patiently running with me and doing all of the workouts alongside the freshmen.

2. She was sensitive to my individual (lack of) experience and provided the support I needed to be successful.

3. She motivated me throughout the run and the first months of practice with a vision of success.

4. She supported me to use my own creativity to design my experience on the team.

Really, it comes down to one central point:

Transformational leaders commit themselves to developing others to their fullest potential.

– Puccio, Mance, and Murdock, Creative Leadership, Sage 2011

Are you a transformational leader?

Do you commit yourself to developing others to their fullest potential? 

Parents can be leaders.

Teachers can be leaders.

Students can be leaders.

Line workers can be leaders.

Administrative assistants can be leaders.

Consultants can be leaders.

Interns can be leaders.

CEOs can be leaders.

It’s all in the mindset, and the mindset informs the approach.

To support people’s full potential, we must support their creativity, because creative thinking is the highest form of mental functioning.

To support people’s full potential, we must use our own creative thinking

To be effective, it is essential that we constantly exercise and grow our own creativity.

The first step to grow creativity is to learn how to spot and support creative strengths. To that end, I have created several free resources that you can use to get started. One is the Creative Strengths Spotter. There's a version for adults and a version for kids.

Another resource is a lesson plan for teachers (that can be adapted for team leaders) on identifying your group's creative constellations. You can get both of these and all of our other helpful resources here. You will also receive ongoing insights and actionable ways to power up your transformational leadership capacity in our twice-monthly Spark Report. 

When you start supporting creative strengths, the ripple effect will spread farther than you imagine, transforming your own creative thinking and the creative thinking of those around you. 

Copyright 2018 Sparkitivity, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Tags: developing potential, kathryn haydon, leadership, leadership attitude, sparkivity, support

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