Published in May 2018, The Meaning Revolution: The Power of Transcendent Leadership has been highly regarded as one of the top leadership books in 2018. Authored by Fred Kofman, LinkedIn’s former vice president of executive development, focuses on the ability of exceptional leadership to powerfully positively influence a company.
Transcendent can be defined as “surpassing the ordinary; exceptional.” In The Meaning Revolution, Kofman argues that most leaders fail to inspire their staff. Workers are unhappy by the leadership within the company, who too often rely on financial incentives to provide encouragement, rather than being inspirational leaders themselves. The financial incentives only go so far, and employees end up feeling underappreciated and disengaged. In fact, estimates show that financial incentives only account for 15% of employees’ motivation.
Kofman believes that this leads to a stagnate business, while a business with transcendent leaders promotes a flourishing business because workers feel as if their work is improving the world. Employees want to feel as if their work has meaning. This is what acts as inspiration to keep improving, not a financial goal. In fact, 85% of motivation at work comes from a sense of belonging and working toward a greater goal. Kofman argues that transcendent leaders are responsible for inspiring this in employees. It’s all about corporate culture, Kofman states, with effective collaboration, honesty, and accountability. All employees should be working toward the same goals for the company while embracing the same values.
Transformative leaders aren’t just successful themselves, but they influence those around them to be successful as well. They don’t just act like the boss and order people around. Kofman argues that transformative leaders aren’t simply working toward a financial or business goal—they are working to shape their employees and help them derive meaning and enjoyment from their work so they feel as if they are actually contributing to and making a difference in the world. This promotes long-term growth within a company.
Kofman argues that one of our biggest fears is that we are wasting our lives and failing to follow the path we should be on. To address this fear, The Meaning Revolution combines economics and business theory, as well as communications and conflict resolution. Kofman also fits in family counseling and mindfulness mediation—all necessary aspects of life that need to be balanced in order to achieve a transformative leadership style.
Though rare, Kofman argues that transcendent leaders do exist. He proves so by profiling several of them in his book. With a few of his lessons, you could be one, too.