Dr. Corné Bekker is an associate professor in the Regent University School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship and an ordained minister. He previously served as the Assistant-Dean of Rhema Bible College in Johannesburg , South Africa.
In recent years, leadership scholars and practitioners have agreed that we need a new model for leadership- a model that can inspire followers to participate in the transformation of their worlds.
Jean Lipmen-Blumen, the Claremont Graduate University Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Organizational Behavior writes about this growing conviction asking for change: “…we finally began to reexamine more critically our traditional concept of leadership. It is based on an outmoded ego ideal glorifying the competitive, combative, controlling, creative, aggressive, self-reliant individualist…”
One such new approach to leadership has been called transformational leadership. In transformational leadership, it is the leader that enhances the motivation, morale, moral compass and performance of his or her followers. Transformational leaders motivate their followers by what scholars sometime refer to as “motivational inspiration.”
Motivational inspiration is the degree to which the leader articulates a vision that is compelling, right, appealing and inspiring to followers. Leaders with inspirational motivation challenge followers with the highest of standards, communicate clearly and with optimism the future goals of the organization, and they provide meaning for the work that the followers do.
How do leaders then construct inspiring visions? Here are five proposed steps that leaders can use to construct visions that are not only moral and inspirational, but compelling:
1. Locate the vision in the organization. Leaders should study the history of their organizations, ask the difficult questions concerning purpose and destiny, and examine the aspired and actual values of the group they are leading. If a vision is to be authentic and compelling, it must be built on the reasons for the existence of the organization. Questions such as “why are we here? What do we do? Where do we want to go?”, should be asked before the leader constructs a new vision. Leaders locate the purpose of the organization.
2. Develop the vision. Clarity is everything in organizational communication. It is the duty of the leader to clearly, and in simple ways, communicate the vision. The leader should then map out the steps needed to implement this vision. The vision should be clearly linked to the over-all strategy of the organization. A great way to test this practical development of the vision is to ask if one could share it during a short elevator ride – a good vision is clear, practical and short.
3. Communicate the vision. Good leaders communicate often and to all. Consistency is the key to success here. The use of aesthetics is of prime importance in this wide and consistent communication of the vision: logos, corporate colors, product design, etc. should all reflect the vision. Anyone should be able to enter a building of an organization and know what the vision of the organization is about. One the primary functions of a transformational leader is to make sure that every follower knows where the organization is going.
4. Lead personally. Transformational leaders lead with their own values and principles. They embody the compelling vision of their organizations. Followers of such leaders indentify their leaders with the vision – they become synonymous with the best values of the organization. The values of integrity and humility become key attributes for such leaders.
5. Measure the vision. Good leaders consistently measure the acceptance, implementation and success of the vision. A leader should never hesitate to ask the difficult questions: “How are we doing? Are we true to our vision? Are we succeeding?” The leaders should also celebrate key success points in the implementation of the vision. Followers remain inspired and motivated if their hard work is seen, valued, and celebrated.
Followers are so hungry for true vision that they will often follow immoral and impractical direction in the absence of authentic leadership.
Transformational leaders have high success rates in keeping their followers motivated and inspired. Transformational leaders inspired the followers by locating the true purpose of the organization, developing that purpose into vision, and communicating the vision consistently and clearly. Such leaders lead through integrity and humility, and the always recognize and reward the efforts of their followers.
There is no greater transformational leader than God. May we learn to lead as He does.
For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints. (Proverbs 2:6-8, NIV)
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Dr. Corné Bekker joined Regent University in 2005. He previously served as the associate dean for academics of Rhema Bible College in Johannesburg, South Africa and now as an associate professor for the School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship. Dr. Bekker teaches in the doctoral programs of the School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship and is actively involved in research on the use of biblical hermeneutics and spirituality to explore leadership. He is the editor of the Journal of Biblical Perspectives in Leadership (JBPL) and the co-editor of Inner Resources for Leaders (IRL).
Dr. Bekker is an ordained minister and has traveled in Africa, Europe, the East and North America to present at churches, ministries, seminars and academic conferences on the subject of Christian spirituality and leadership formation.
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