Transformational Leadership

Written by Dave Rothacker on August 4, 2020

“I can’t get buy-in! I’ve been over and over it. I just can’t make our people______!”

Fill in the blank. From systems to processes to procedures to training, the message isn’t getting through to your coworkers. Short of hypnotizing them, what can you do?

I am about ready to close shop and go work for someone else! I would hire a body if they walked through the door. I can’t get anyone to even walk through the door. Labor shortage? No, labor outage! —Average Struggling Contractor

Do you struggle to attract and keep quality coworkers? Let’s check in on one of the most accomplished leaders today.

John C. Maxwell

John C. Maxwell has more years in leadership teaching and experience than most of us have been alive. Let’s take a look at a lesson in his treasure-laden archive.

Maxwell founded the non-profit organization EQUIP along with his brother Larry in 1996. In 2003, the brothers set a goal to train one million leaders in countries around the world.

EQUIP hit that mark five years later. By 2013 they had trained five million leaders worldwide. A serious problem. however, began to surface. Although these leaders had been through the highest-quality training, they were not making an impact; they were not making a positive difference in the lives of others.

It’s About Being Intentional

Maxwell’s leadership team was perplexed. After significant debate and soul-searching, they figured it out.

“The training we had done was educational, not transformational. We had focused on the lesson we taught more than the lives we hoped to change.”

“. . . giving leaders training does not make them transformational in the lives of others. They don’t automatically make an impact, they do not automatically become transformational in the lives of others. They don’t live out intentional significance”

Think Back in Your Life

Did a manager, coach, teacher, or parent ever make a difference in your life?

In addition to lessons learned, it was how they made you feel that was important. They saw something that led them to foster and grow a belief in you. They knew that you not only had the mind to make things happen, you also had the heart.

Their belief in you supercharged the lesson and, more importantly, your life!

Transformational Leadership

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. —John C. Maxwell

Trained Leaders vs. Transformational Leaders

Trained Leaders

Know how to lead

Are liked

Influence today

Ask people to follow

Love to lead

Are trained

Help people

Have a career

Impact a few

Transformational Leaders

Know why they lead

Are contagious

Influence today and tomorrow

Ask people to make a difference

Love the people they lead

Are trained and transformed

Help people change

Have a calling

Impact many

Leadershift, by John C. Maxwell

Our Industries Do not Have a Labor Shortage, They Have a Leadership Shortage

People not only want to work for transformational leaders, they want to be a part of what they’re a part of. Envision the coworker who passionately believes in their owner and what the owner believes. Imagine being on the receiving end of all that a transformational leader has to give! Picture and feel the potential! This coworker is making an impact and a difference in the world. They love their work!

What are the chances these coworkers go on about their lives outside of work and NOT tell anyone!? Zero. Even if they didn’t verbalize their delight, their family, friends, and acquaintances will see it and feel it in their actions.


Transformational leaders realize trade schools are not keeping up with the demand for qualified labor, so they’ve taken on the role of educator. Whether it’s a CSR, bookkeeper, plumber, technician, or installer, they have the ability to take an inexperienced applicant off the street, school them, and get them started on productive work. Their education never really ends.

The transformational leader has now increased their pool of potential labor into an ocean!

Community Asset

The transformational leader’s company becomes known within the community. It:

  • Is a beacon of hope and light
  • Has a vision, mission, and culture that people embrace
  • Makes a positive difference in the community
  • Lives its beliefs every day
  • Cares about its people and families
  • Cares about coworker growth and development
  • Inspires coworkers as they become beacons of hope and light
  • Reinvests in its people and the community

It’s Time to Take Massive Action!

We can transform our industries! One educated and inspired leader at a time who, 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 produce. Study these leaders and emulate their practice. Take massive action and be the change you so passionately wish to see!

It’s Go-Time!