Transformational Leadership Starts With Self


A monthly leadership blog focused on transformational leadership, developmental communication, and championing change, courtesy of and authored by Phil Henderson.

A more inclusive and relational style of enduring leadership underscores the culture change David Moxlow (owner & CEO) envisions for his company – it includes a “leadership for tomorrow” approach. Articles are written and posted on the Trenton Forging website throughout the year describe and define his culture change vision. In order to ‘be’ and ‘do’ differently as a leader and put David’s vision to practice, we must first look inward and “start with self”.

Do you want others to be like you, or better than you? In the context of this article, “others” refers to your colleagues, fellow employees, and, of course, direct reports. A healthy level of self-confidence is a good thing, but I’m quite certain “better than I am” is your desire – which is great! Your answer to that question is fundamental to leadership.

If we routinely go about our day telling, directing, seldom asking, and poorly (if at all) listening, how will we achieve our fundamental desire to develop others to be better than we? Are we hoping and depending upon other people to do that for us? Many entities and many people play essential roles in our own development, but what role are you playing in developing others?

  • Are you the light in someone’s day that makes it a bit brighter?
  • Do you find more joy in identifying problems or finding solutions?
  • Things never stay the same, they either get better or worse. Are you improving things?

I firmly believe, and I’ve said many times, “If when you rise in the morning you aren’t genuinely motivated and inspired to engage, educate, and develop others, then you have no business leading people.” Leaders face adversity in that endeavor every day. Regardless, they improve things, they find the next solution, they make a day a bit brighter – they persevere.

There are any number of ways people can add value to a business or organization if they aren’t particularly interested in motivating, inspiring, educating, or developing others, but acting in a transformational leadership role shouldn’t be one of them.

taking action; organization; leadership; Phil HendersonPhil Henderson is a former Regional VP of Manufacturing Operations at Harland Clarke Holdings. He is a Designer of Self-Directed, Team-Based Work Systems in manufacturing environments over the course of 26 years. He served 8 years as an Air Traffic Controller and Officer in the US Army, and with distinction as a Captain in the First Gulf War. He currently provides leadership development and self-directed work team design assistance to Trenton Forging. For inquiries, Phil may be reached at (210) 316-3212 or at