Transformational Leadership Traits: Clarity of Vision

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership was birthed from educational systems and the military.  The writings of BM Bass and JM Burns are cited in many, if not most, articles on transformational leadership.  In the best sense, transformational leaders equip and create community.


Traits and Characteristics

The following list is my summary of key traits for you to learn – and perfect – if you truly desire to become an optimally effective transformational leader.  As a caution, please note that this description is not an ominous point, but describes a process of learning and growing to become the leader that YOU were created to be.

As you review the list, think about people you know who model these traits.   You will make a list of those people in the Reflect and Apply section.   Remember, you are building a transformational leadership system, while simultaneously building your skills as a transformational leader, a definitive leader.  Also, begin thinking about the skills that you want to improve upon.  This information will be built upon in later lessons.  It will be very helpful while building your skills for success.

The transformational leader:

  1. Clearly Articulates Vision And Goals
  2. Defines Things Others Can Do
  3. Builds Leaders Within Teams
  4. Effectively Delegates
  5. Encourages Boldness
  6. Gives Information And Support
  7. Affirms And Celebrates Competence
  8. Respects The Individual
  9. Avoids Micromanaging
  10. Models What They Preach

(Click on each trait to see the blog post)

Here is an excerpt from my first book on transformational leadership:

Examine the word `transform`.  It does not merely mean change – or we would use that word.  It is a verb with an expanded vision and is much more transcendent.  It implies a deeper, more fundamental alteration of our very form.  To transform.  The continuing process of transformation begins with the moment of inspiration and continues in us through times of action, rest and reflection.  The magic of transformation is absolutely necessary in the world of music.  Transformation occurs not only by chance, but also by direct intention – not only from the leader, but from the participants as well. The results are cumulative.  Once the sense of ensemble is achieved and experienced firsthand, it can be believed. Moving Spirits, Building Lives

So, why are there not more leaders committed to building the sense of ensemble in all that they undertake?  Maybe it’s an educational issue for those whom we lead. Maybe it’s a lack of understanding that the concept of ensemble is transferable from musical groups to other groups.  Why is that concept so foreign to people?  Why does it seem unobtainable?


What sets aside a transformational leader from other kinds of leaders; a charismatic leader, for instance? A charismatic leader is on one end of the spectrum: it’s about them and their charisma, and it’s a very autocratic style of leadership.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the transformational leader. The transformational leadership trait is about the vision. You are leading a vision. It’s not about you; it’s about your vision. You are, in fact, a charismatic leader because you inspire, you’re a cheerleader. You’re the person who motivates and empowers the people on your team, and you build leaders on your team.

Trait 1: Clearly Articulates Vision And Goals

The musical conductor has a music score which provides the details for every participant in the ensemble, singer or instrumentalist. The business leader has a strategic plan which includes goals and action plans.

Have you defined your vision and mission? Do you have long-term strategic objective for the next 3-5 years? Are you prepared to lead your team in creating an action plan for reaching your vision?

Here’s what Andrew Carnegie told Napoleon Hill: “Any idea that can be held in the mind that is emphasized, that is either feared or revered, will begin at once to manifest itself in the most appropriate and convenient physical form available.”

You are the transformational leader. Be clear on your vision.

Read what Seth Godin says about timelines in reaching goals in his post Time Frames. Find it here:



Hugh Ballou
The Transformational Leadership Strategist

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Hugh Ballou (Author)