Research clearly shows that transformational leaders - leaders who are positive, inspiring, and who empower and develop followers - are better leaders. They are more valued by followers and have higher performing teams. By working on the 4 key components of transformational leadership, we can all become better leaders (and better persons, in general).

1. Be a Positive Role Model. Set a positive example and don't ask others to do what you yourself are unwilling to do. Alexander the Great was a successful military leader who was adored by his troops, because Alexander was out in front leading the charge into battle.

2. Be Optimistic and Inspirational. Have a "can do" attitude, and use that attitude to motivate. Let followers know your positive vision for the work team or company and inspire them to achieve it.

3. Challenge, but Support. Transformational leaders challenge followers to be creative, innovative, and to take risks, and this is how they together achieve extraordinary results. But, it is critical to support innovation and risk-taking. Don't blame. Instead, use setbacks as positive learning experiences.

4. Listen to Followers and Be Genuinely Concerned. Our research shows this may be most important. You can't be the type of leader who empowers and develops followers if you don't have genuine positive regard for your team members. You need to focus on their positive assets, be "in tune" with each member, and demonstrate that you care about each individual's performance and personal development.

OK, here's the "extra" factor: Be Honest and "Authentic" The truly exceptional leaders are straightforward, honest, and don't "play games." They don't use followers to achieve personal gains, but work together for mutually beneficial outcomes.

Being a great leader isn't easy, but we do know that these characteristics are the "recipe" for success.

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