Wright Foundation | April 15, 2014

Transformational Leadership:
What’s Your Career Vision &
Why It’s Important

What is your career vision—do you consider yourself a transformational leader? Here is why transformational leadership and career vision are important.

I recently wrote a blog on a talk I gave to CEOs, where we reviewed ourselves against the attributes of transformational leaders as presented in the seminal book on the subject, Transformational Leadership by Bass and Riggio. It seemed to me that the same should be true of establishing a transformational vision. Do you have a transformational career vision? Do you know that it has nothing to do with what you do, but rather how you do it? First of all,  you are always a leader. At my talk, the CEOs assessed themselves on a number of transformational leadership variables. We define leadership as the influence we have on others in what they think, do, and feel.

I suggest modifying your career vision to make it your own, measure yourself against it, and ask people to rate you on it. I am a dependable, uplifting, can-do presence on whom my co-workers count. I take initiative, keep the mission of the company and co-workers in mind. I ask questions, learn, grow, and get better all the time. People trust me and I trust them unless they prove untrustworthy, in which case, I deal with it.

This might be a career parallel to what Bass and Riggio call inspirational motivation. They assert that transformational leaders have a clear vision and a career aspiration that they are able to articulate to followers. These leaders are also able to help followers experience the same passion and motivation to fulfill these goals. Rate yourself on how fully you live the vision statement I gave you above: 5=Impeccable, 4= close to impeccable, 3=Excellent, 2=Well, 1=I’m embarrassed, 0= I don’t want to talk about it.

Most career folks over-rate themselves. I am going to give you a little more on what I wrote on the CEO transformational leadership blog. Early in careers, before you have supervised others, it is hard to get perspective. Consider asking your boss to rate you against his or her ideal. If your company has 360-degree feedback, all the better. The group of leaders was really honest, and most of the self-ratings were at 3 or below. There were a number of 1’s and a few 2’s. I rated myself a 1. Our company vision at Wright is clearly articulated.

My Company’s Career Vision

My employees know our vision and are 100% behind it and our goals—ask any of them and you will hear a similar answer, individualized by the employee’s personal perspective. We repeat the company purpose and vision at the beginning of each staff meeting. Despite that, I rate myself a 1: “I am embarrassed.” We site our mission at the beginning of every meeting: “Our purpose is to live spectacular lives and to support others to unleash their potential by consciously engaging in their own transformation and leadership, for the advancement of humanity and conscious, sustainable living on the planet.”  

As I reflect on it, there are a lot of holes in our realization of this mission—we haven’t blown it out into a full vision statement. We don’t yet really ask ourselves about the purpose as it translates to all areas of client certainty at the level we could. For example, I don’t have my people thinking about our vision when they answer the phone every time. But it’s a really cool thing to reach for. In the realm of vision, we have not extended it sufficiently into every corner of our business.

Crafting a Personal Career Vision

Build a career vision – based on a solid and achievable career aspiration – of how you will be as a worker, team member, leader, and overall great human being and really work for it. The cool part of my job as a speaker, coach, and consultant is that as I prepare a talk etc., I get to look at my strengths and weaknesses. Every bit of coaching and training I do requires that I look honestly at myself. To be effective in our business, we stretch toward ideals that are never realbut they are the yardsticks against which we measure ourselves and that toward which we stretch, as well as the foundation for us to develop skills and refine our vision. If you are interested, I will send you some of our feedback mechanisms for all our team members to help you build your personal career vision.

So, this blog is an invitation for you to stretch yourself to your ideal career vision and measure yourself against the gaps, recognizing the skills you need to develop to realize the vision. Ask for feedback and learn to cut down defensiveness. If you are defensive, people will stop coaching you and mentors will not show interest in you. Understand the function of a career vision is just thisto stretch ourselves to our potential, not to be at rest at what we are. As a result, be sure to be inspired by the embarrassing gaps and use the exercise to move forward. Use your vision and feedback to compel you to further develop your career vision, and be sure that your vision fits into every corner of what you dorelationships, service, and how you will develop in the future.

A few checkpoints for you at first: do you have a clear mission/purpose statement? If not, let me know and we can discuss, and I can send you a link for a copy of my 1995 book on work and purpose, but it works for all your life. This will really be a foundation for your vision statement—we generally develop vision personally before developing vision in our seminars. Be sure to be honest with yourself as you fill out or develop your vision and measure yourself.

In future leadership blogs, I will address the distinction of mission versus purpose as we use the terms, and we will discuss ways to flesh out your career and life vision.

For more ways to discover your leadership potential, visit Wright Now. We offer an array of courses geared to help you learn more about yourself, your career, and your relationships. So don’t miss out on the life you want. Go for it now!

Learn more about Wright Living’s Career & Leadership Coaching in Chicago & Career Coaching Courses in Chicago.

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.