Become a Transformational Leader

Transformational leaders are the ones who create happy teams and positive working cultures. They’re the people others look up to and want to emulate. They inspire their teams, challenge them to grow, and walk alongside them, helping them achieve their desired goals. Transformational leaders are hard to find, especially within a hierarchical structure such as yachting, where the autocratic management style is prevalent. Leadership differs greatly from management; leadership requires a tapestry of skills that motivates individuals to give their best and demonstrates the team’s/vessel’s values with pride.

Being a transformational leader first requires you to focus on self-leadership. If you are not aware of your blind spots or are ignorant of feedback, you will, unfortunately, lose respect fast and won’t be recognised as a leader that people want to follow. In The Crew Coach Advanced Leadership Course, the students embark on a 3-month journey where they learn how to be a transformational leader that positively influences and builds a team for success.

They bring clarity to the vision

  • They know what they want to accomplish for the greater good of the team, and the Owner’s experience
  • They have a vision for the future that aligns with the core values of the vessel
  • They are able to communicate that vision to the crew with confidence. To be effective, they need to know how to communicate their vision in a way that will be remembered by others and inspire them to work towards it.

They aren’t afraid to change to get there

Leaders who are willing to adapt and change will be the most successful. They are open to hearing others’ input and ideas and are flexible to pivot if necessary.

If you want to be a transformational leader, you need to consider ideas other than your own; be transparent; make decisions; and move forward with them. Being decisive is crucial for any leader. If they are making decisions based on self-interest rather than on behalf of their team, they will lose respect fast.

They continually grow and learn

Transformational leaders are willing to learn new skills and acknowledge the areas they need to further develop. They must also accept constructive feedback from others, even if it makes them feel uncomfortable. And perhaps most importantly, they must always be open to asking for help—whether from colleagues or mentors in the workplace.

They listen to their people

Listening is a truly underrated leadership skill. Listening helps you to understand the needs of your crew members. This can lead to increased productivity, morale and job satisfaction. It also allows you understand where the crew are at mentally. This helps keep a pulse on their work environment so that improvements can be made, if necessary.

Listening is not just about hearing what others say; it’s about understanding what they mean by those words, followed by demonstrating empathy and taking action.

They create high-performance teams

Transformational leaders are good at creating a team environment. They build trust, which is necessary for building high-performance teams. This means that if you’re a transformational leader, people know that you have their best interests at heart and you care about them as individuals.

They also tend to be good at delegating tasks and helping the team achieve goals by getting people to work together effectively—something that’s very important in any type of job or career path.

They’re optimistic and enthusiastic

Optimism is contagious. Optimists help to make those around them more optimistic and enthusiastic about their work. This can create a positive and vibrant culture for your organisation. Being optimistic isn’t easy, but it’s something that you can practice every day by looking for the good in every situation.

Optimism is a choice. You don’t have to be an optimist if you don’t want to be—but being an optimist will have a positive effect on your life and career! There are many benefits of being an optimist: they’re happier (and therefore healthier), they’re better leaders, and they tend to achieve their goals faster than pessimists. This is because they look at every challenge as an opportunity rather than something negative or scary.

Being a transformational leader is tough, but rewarding

Being a transformational leader is tough because it requires you to put your needs aside and focus on your team members. It requires a deep understanding of human behaviour. However, the gain is invaluable. As a transformational leader, you are a role model, a source of inspiration and motivation, and a source of knowledge and encouragement amongst others.

Being a transformational leader means that you are able to understand the needs of your crew. You can then help them fulfil those needs and improve their performance as individuals.

Transformational leadership involves developing a crew member’s skills, for example, by providing training or coaching on how to become better at what they do, or perhaps moving them into other possible roles on board. It also involves providing support when needed (for example, when an employee has been through something difficult).


Now that you know why it’s important to be a transformational leader, you can start to develop your leadership style. The best way to do this is by listening to your people and learning from them. Remember that you don’t have all the answers, but if others are willing to share their thoughts with you, then maybe together you can make the world a better place! If you would like to become a transformational leader, The Crew Coach offers 2 x courses per year. Head over to www.thecrewcoach for more information.



Written by Karine Rayson, Director, The Crew Coach

Tel: +61 402065101 

Skype karine_rayson



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