28.01.2020500 Words

Can Scarlett Johansson encourage you to be a Transformational Leader?

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These 500 words on Leadership Development are for all leaders and managers who are interested in supporting their people through challenging times.


During the Christmas holidays, I settled down to watch a movie with my family. The movie in question? Lucy, the 2014 French science fiction action film written and directed by Luc Besson.

Spoiler below!

In the film, the main character Lucy, played by Scarlett Johansson, gets abducted by a gang in Taipei and is forced to carry a bag of drugs in her abdomen. When the bag bursts, the drug gives her access to 90 percent of her brain, making her superhuman.

Lucy’s strength and mental capacities grow exponentially after the effects of the performance-enhancing drugs set in. Soon, she transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic and hell-bent on destroying her captors.

A number of things struck me whilst watching. For instance, the idea that we only use 10 percent of our brains is actually a myth – but that’s just a minor point.

What really made me sit up and take notice, though, is that Lucy, a fairly average woman, gets the greatest power imaginable and faces no other choice but to try and pass on her knowledge, which is virtually infinite by the end of the movie.

The brain enhancers in her system allow her to reach the full capacity of her brain. Her reaction, when she realises the power she is going to achieve by accessing such a huge amount of knowledge, is:

‘I don’t know what to do with it.’

The director Luc Besson, touched on this at the time the film was released: ‘At this level of power, the only thing she can do is pass it on. I think it’s such a lesson’.

And he’s right… the lesson this film demonstrates is the power of transformational leadership, because holding on to knowledge is selfish.

Transformational leadership is a theory of leadership where a leader uses their knowledge for a higher purpose and works with teams to identify change, creating a vision to guide the change through inspiration, and executing the change in tandem with committed members of a group.

This style of leadership allows a team to achieve so much more, as there is an inter-dependency of working with others whilst sharing knowledge.

The concept of transformational leadership started with James V. Downton in 1973 and was expanded by James Burns in 1978. In 1985, researcher Bernard M. Bass further expanded the concept to include ways for measuring the success of transformational leadership. 

It is inevitable that with growth comes change. Yet this is not something to be scared of. With a transformational leadership mandate, a leader can inspire their employees to embrace change by fostering a company culture of accountability, ownership and workplace autonomy.

At CLP, we work with leaders and help them develop a transformational leadership mind-set that will inspire and motivate their workforce – without the reliance on micromanaging. Trust is instilled in their employees to take authority over decisions in their assigned roles. It’s a management style that’s designed to give employees more room to be creative, look to the future and find new solutions to old problems. In other words, we encourage them to embrace Change.

Throughout 2020, we will be embracing Change with a series of free workshops in Germany, Belgium and the UK. These workshops will focus on how you can master Change by adopting new tools and approaches to succeed in Change initiatives.

To learn more, click here.

In 2020 we hope you embrace a knowledge-sharing, transformative and Change-embracing leadership style.

Yours, Dr Marcus Gottschalk
CEO at CLP

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#Change #YearOfChange #Knowledge #YearOfKnowledge

CLP periodically publishes 500 words that reflect our experiences, research and thought leadership. Download your PDF version here.

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