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Transformational Leadership: Style, Definition, Characteristics and theory!

Transformational Leadership Style, Definition, Characteristics and theory

Transformational leadership is a typical leadership style, especially in organisations where culture is a key to employee well-being, productivity, and accomplishment. It’s similar to servant leadership which is another ethical leadership style, though with significant differences.

As per Bernard M. Bass, When leaders expand and elevate the benefits of their employees and generate awareness and acceptance of the aims and purposes of the group, and when they awaken their employees to look beyond their self-interest for the advantage of the group is when one becomes a transformational leader.

Transformational leadership, thus, focuses on the needs of others, rather than the needs of the leader. In this way, it’s similar to servant leadership but differs because in each style the leader has a different focus.

Stone, Russell, and Patterson, other thinkers  argued that the focus of transformational leaders are “directed towards the organisation, and his or her behaviour builds follower commitment toward organisational objectives, while the servant leaders concentrate on the followers, and the success of the organisation is a subordinate outcome.”

Transformational leadership also differs markedly from one of its predecessors, transactional leadership, because it focuses on culture. Transactional leaders don’t try to change the culture – they work within the existing status quo – while transformational leaders strive for culture change to drive improvement and performance.

Transformational leadership encourages people to achieve amazing or exceptional results. It provides workers with the autonomy over specific jobs, as well as the authority to make decisions once they have been trained.

Some essential characteristics of transformational leadership are as follows:-

  • Inspirational as they can inspire workers to find better ways of achieving a goal;
  • Mobilization, because leadership can mobilize people into groups that can get work done, and
  • Morale in those transformational leaders raises the well-being and motivation level of an organization through excellent rapport. They are also good at conflict resolution.
  • Transformational leadership, therefore, becomes a better fit for various types of business.
  • Transformational leaders are sometimes called quiet leaders. They lead by example. Their style uses rapport, inspiration, and empathy to engage followers. They have in them the strength, spirit, and the enthusiasm to make sacrifices for the greater good.
  • They maintain a determined need to streamline or modify things that no longer work. Transformational leaders motivate the workers and know how to make them a fundamental unit that works well with others.

Transformational leadership style requirements

Following are some transformational leadership styles:-

  • Very strongly-organized and expect their followers to be creative
  • Team-oriented and assume that followers will work together to create the best possible results
  • Respected, and in turn respects followers
  • Acts as coach of the team. He/she provides training and motivation to reach the desired goals
  • Responsible for their team, however also instills responsibility into the team members
  • Engenders respect through rapport and a personal influence

Transformational Leadership Theory

Transformational leadership is present in almost every stage of the organisation be it teams, departments, divisions, or organisation as a whole. Such leaders are visionary, inspiring, daring, risk-takers, and thoughtful thinkers. They have a charismatic appeal. But charisma alone is insufficient for changing the way an organisation operates. For bringing significant changes, transformational leaders must exhibit the following four factors:

Inspirational Motivation: The framework of transformational leadership is the vision, purpose, and a set of values to the members. They understand what they require from every interaction and supervise followers accordingly by rendering them with an insight into meaning and challenge. They work with complete enthusiasm and optimism to promote the spirit of teamwork and commitment.

Individualized Consideration: Leaders act as coaches to their followers and compensate them accordingly for their innovation and creativity. The followers are treated individually as per their talents and knowledge and are allowed to make decisions. They are always given the required support to execute their decisions.

Intellectual Stimulation: leaders like these always motivate their followers to be more innovative and artistic. They encourage new ideas from the followers and never criticise them publicly for the mistakes committed. They focus on the problems and their solutions. They do not hesitate in discarding an old practice set by them if it is found ineffective.

Idealized Influence: They believe in the philosophy that to be impactful a leader must practice what he/she advocates. The leaders serve as role models that followers attempt to follow. They always win the trust and respect of followers through their action. Such leaders put first the needs of their followers ‘over their own; they are not reluctant to sacrifice personal gains for them and exhibit high standards of ethical conduct. The exercise of power by transformational leaders is directed at influencing them to strive for the common goals of the organisation.

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