Transformational Leadership has five behaviors: challenging the process, inspiring a shared vision, enabling others to act, modeling the way, and encouraging the heart. I don’t know if Bojan Mandaric and Brogan Graham knew about these behaviors when they started November Project (NP) but they use each one to lead. As I related each behavior to NP, it clicked in my brain why the movement has been so successful and why I felt so empowered after each and every workout.
Okay, let me back up- many of you are probably asking, “What in the world is November Project?” It’s a free fitness community that started in Boston and has spread to 21 cities in the United States and Canada. For more context check out their website: http://november-project.com/
From day one November Project has been cultivating and inspiring a shared vision. The vision is simple: a free fitness community for all fitness levels. The workouts are fierce, fun, and inclusive. This vision is known and consistently repeated by leaders and members a like.
The leaders of November Projects are able to keep the workouts fun and fierce by challenging the process. They challenge the notion that hard workouts are all work and no play. I’ve jumped over trashcans and wheelbarrow-raced, all in the name of free fitness. Not every experiment is a success but the leaders know how to shake things up which makes members hungry for more free fitness weirdness.
And it is the members that the NP leaders are focused on. It’s not just about free fitness, it’s about a free fitness community. They enable others to act by fostering self-development with their focus on tracking times and celebrating improvement.
All November Project leaders have to be some of the fastest and fittest in the tribe. Not to be exclusionary, but so that they can lead by example. These workouts are tough and the best way to lead is to show everyone how it’s done. The leaders don’t just model the way at workouts either, they talk about their racing gains and show how their hard work is paying off.
The number one behavior seen at NP workouts is encouraging the heart. All workouts start with hugs and telling each other “I’m glad you’re here”. Leaders cheer on the fast members and are often seen jogging along with the slower ones or chatting with those who are struggling.There is just so much love pouring out from the community because of how much heart the leaders put into every workout.
Transformational leadership takes in the individual needs of followers and inspires them toward a particular purpose. That is exactly what November Project does and will continue to do. Give people who need a community a place to grow while becoming fitter, happier humans. It’s a style that empowers members to do their best, be their best, and support each other. And isn’t that what all leaders want from their followers?