Confronting & Conforming...the Antipode of Change
It requires a different kind of versatile Leadership to lead the transformation agenda. In fact most failing change efforts are traced back to style of leadership and the maturity or lack of it as displayed by the leader whilst navigating the Ship through the stormy seas of change.
You can't be a transformational leader and hope to succeed by upfront commencing the journey with a whole-sale agenda for change. Effective leaders balance and gain traction by doing both - challenge and conform. They practice their deeply held principles but alongside, they also have the maturity to compromise, where maturity tells them it is necessary.
Leaders with determination to transform their organisational realities do so not only with a mindless determination to bring about the change but they also aim to gain organisational leverage by adjusting to the critical aspects of their culture and its context.
Their authenticity and bravery to confront the otherwise cherished norms of their enterprise is blended with their wisdom and maturity to first adopt and conform before they confront. Wisdom helps transformational leaders to decide which aspects of the organisations way of life needs to be confronted on priority and which needs to be conformed to.
Transformational leaders first engage with the general way of organisational life to adopt its norms and culture such that it thereafter creates the possibility of making the changes happen. This will help them achieve traction to build an effective net-working community of supporters around the areas that they wish to confront. In history, Alexander the Great was well know for famously adopting many of the traditions and practices of the people and countries that he conquered. It became thereafter very easy for the people of that country to accept Alexander's rule instead of rejecting him. Conforming before confronting. Thus he was acknowledged by history amongst other things as ' The Great '.
Transformational leadership is actually more about strategy and wisdom than knowledge, guts and bravado as wrongly believed. This is a lesson to be learnt.