I was asked to give my thoughts on Transformational Leadership. here we go. To reiterate; this is a personal view.
Over the last 10 years Policing leadership has worked to address the balance between Transformational and Transactional Leadership
So what does it mean? Is there a difference or is it just management jargon? Do they operate together or are the necessarily separate entities? Can you be one without being the other?
The Transactional element is essentially about doing the things that have to be done. Ensuring that the transactions of the business are carried out and are executed in the spirit and the word of the business processes and policies.
The Transformational approach is all about challenging the business, supporting and growing talent, working outside the managerial confines of the dreaded "box", and making change systematic.
But, I would suggest you need both.
Leaders cant just operate in the world of persistent changing activities and forget the delivery of the business. Yes, as a transformer one should be seeking out better and more effective ways of delivering the business. But, for example, if crime rises or detections fall then the leader should be looking to correct and focus in a transactional way. I don't think you can be completely one or the other, I think you need to be both but that the % of time in each will differ according to the task and the context.
Transformation Leadership is about building, transactional is about maintaining, in short.
So what about today's leaders, what should they be?
Without doubt they need to operate in a very changing environment.
The budget restrictions and loss of staff alone demonstrate the need to deliver the business with far less and in much more effective ways. It is about losing valuable people, Departments disappearing and boundaries being removed.
Agility in thinking, Adaptability to a new environment and the ability to visualise new solutions to old problems will be paramount.
But equally the new leader needs to adapt the business to new crimes, whose impact is still starting to develop, Phishing, ID theft, Trojan horse, Hacking, the impact of Social Engineering will require careful analysis and a response that can operate effectively in a Neighbourhood, as much as it can in Cyberspace. A big ask indeed.
Equally our new leaders need to be able to communicate in different ways, digitally and dynamically.
They need to develop themselves, their team and impact on the organisation to improve the business delivery for all.
I think the new leaders will be transformational, but they will also need to be keeping a weather eye on performance and delivery, particularly of the confidence people have in Policing.
Instant History as revealed through social media and the response by the existing media will breed a new requirement to understand not just what is happening with existing performance but a whole host of other indicators inside and outside the organisation.
No mean feat
But I am also confident that Police Leaders have developed over the years and by sharing with partners and being open to new ways of doing business we will deliver the policing service the public can expect.
Finally, the relationship Leaders have with their Officers or Staff is fundamental to the success of the organisation. That relationship is neither transactional nor transformational. Its more important that both. It's critical.
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