The Transformational Leader

Transformational leadership has the potential to vaporize our industry’s labor shortage.

John C. Maxwell is the quintessential leader. Whether through experience, teaching, and or coaching, Maxwell has over 50 years of quality time invested in leadership. In 2003, Maxwell, along with his brother Larry and their nonprofit organization EQUIP, came up with the idea to train one million leaders in countries around the world. 

EQUIP hit that goal in 2008 and kept steaming along. Although the number of trained leaders climbed to five million in 2013, there was a problem. Educated leaders were not making an impact. Maxwell’s leadership team asked, “What did we miss?” 

After much discussion and debate, they arrived at this conclusion: The training they had done was educational but not transformational. By just giving leaders training, they do not automatically make an impact and do not automatically become transformational in the lives of others.

Perhaps you’ve seen this in your company. In the early Spring, you spend time and money educating your managers. Rubbing your hands together and with great anticipation, you envision the fruit of their labor (and your money): engaged coworkers this summer cranking out profitable work. 

Those 90 degree days pummel and beat the stuffing out of your dedicated staff. After six weeks, nerves fray, morale tanks, and profitability is a fading dream. A dark cloud sets in and shrouds even the hope of joy. And then the second most dreaded question known to contractor-kind burrows itself into the depths of your psyche: “How do I motivate my coworkers?”

While your managers might have been educated, clearly they weren’t transformed. 

Let’s step back, take a minute, and think about you and your educational journey. Did a parent, teacher, coach, or manager ever make a difference in your life? Perhaps it was the sheet metal guy in the shop. Was it his ability to teach you how to make a transition that spiked your lifelong love of metal? Or was it his passionate love of the craft? The passion that conveyed the importance of his work. The passion that fueled his stories of experience. A passion that hooked you and opened your eyes to the dignity and art of sheet metal. 

Out of these possibilities, you and I both know it wasn’t the ability to build a transition that filled your soul with love for the craft. The same holds for other influential people in your past. They could inspire and make a positive difference in your life!


Are you a transformational leader?

John Maxwell says, “If your actions inspire people to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you are a transformational leader. You influence people to think, speak and act in ways that make a positive difference in their lives and the lives of others.”

The majority of contractors in America are not transformational leaders. Put aside your association with high-end contractor support groups like the Service Nation Alliance for a minute and think. Do most skilled trade business owners that you are aware of inspire their coworkers? Do their actions reveal signs of making a positive difference in their lives? 

Or are they well-intentioned bosses who provide steady work along with decent pay and benefits?

The lot of well-intentioned bosses is exactly what Maxwell encountered when he discovered the leaders of his organization were training but not making an impact. 


What Labor Shortage?

Forget the national industry labor shortage and think about your community. If an owner exhibits the characteristics of a transformational leader and has even a modicum of business sense (that includes coworker training from the ground floor up), it’s highly unlikely they’ll struggle much to fill their work roster. An inspired coworker cannot help but tell their friends and acquaintances about their company! 


It becomes known within the community, this company is:
  • A beacon of light
  • Has a vision, mission, and culture that people buy into
  • Committed to making a positive difference in their coworker and customer’s lives
  • Lives these beliefs every day
  • Cares about its people and their families
  • Cares about coworker growth and development
  • Fosters the ability for coworkers to find meaning in their work
  • Takes massive action catering to coworker growth and development
  • Inspires coworkers to perpetuate what they’re learning and engage with others to make a positive difference in their lives
  • Continually reinvests in its process

If you are fortunate enough to experience the environment that a transformational leader nurtures and grows, you’ll catch the fever of hope and possibility. 

We can transform our industries! One educated leader at a time with intention and resolve strives to inspire and make a positive difference in the lives of others! Next, it’s up to those who recognize the stimulating results transformational leaders are producing. Study these leaders and emulate their practice. Take massive action and be the change you so passionately wish to see!

It’s Go Time!

Written by Dave Rothacker

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service to see if there are Success Days in your area!

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