Transformational Leadership – Definition And Approach To Motivation

Transformational Leadership

Have you ever been in a group where someone took command by conveying a clear vision of the group’s goals, a great passion for the job, and the ability to re-energize and re-energize the others? It’s possible that this person is a transformational leader.

Transformational leadership is a type of leadership that inspires others to make positive changes. The majority of transformational leaders are vivacious, passionate, and enthusiastic. These leaders are not just concerned and involved in the process; they are also focused on ensuring that each member of the group succeeds.

What Is Transformational Leadership?

Transformational leadership is a leadership style that encourages, inspires, and motivates people to innovate and generate change in order to help the organization grow and influence its future success. This is accomplished through the executive level by example with a strong sense of corporate culture, employee ownership, and workplace independence.

Transformational leaders inspire and motivate their teams without micromanaging; instead, they rely on their staff to make decisions in their areas of responsibility. It’s a management style that pushes employees to be more innovative, plan ahead, and find new solutions to old problems. Through mentorship and training, employees on the leadership track will be prepared to become transformational leaders themselves.

History of Transformational Leadership

In 1973, sociologist James V. Downton coined the phrase “transformational leadership.” Transformational leaders, according to leadership expert James Burns, are individuals that aim to modify existing attitudes, practices, and goals for better results and the greater good. Transformational leaders, according to Burns, are those who focus on the followers’ most basic needs.

Leadership Model of Transformational

James V. Downton first proposed the idea of transformative leadership in 1973, and James Burns built on it in 1978. Bernard M. Bass, a researcher, developed the notion in 1985 by including methods for evaluating transformational leadership achievement. This paradigm encourages executives to lead with authenticity and strength in the hopes of inspiring colleagues to do the same.

While Bass’ model originated from the 1970s, it is still an effective leadership style in use today – the environments in which it is utilized change, but the style of authentic leadership does not. It applies to many industries, but it’s especially important in the fast-paced IT sector, where innovation and agility can make or break a company.

Transformational Leadership Skills

These are the characteristics of a transformational leader, according to Bass, which distinguishes them from another approach to leadership styles. Someone who is a transformational leader:

  • Encourages the development of followers to be motivated and grow in a poBuilds company culture by encouraging employees to move from an attitude of self-interest to a mindset where they are working for the common positive way.
  • Exemplifies moral values within the organization and inspires others to do the same.
  • Encourages an ethical work environment by establishing clear principles, priorities, and expectations.
  • While giving guidance and mentorship, allows employees to make decisions and take ownership of initiatives.

Transactional vs. Transformational Leadership

Transactional leadership, on the other hand, stresses rewards and penalties to motivate personnel, which is the polar opposite of transformational leadership. It necessitates management, oversight, organization, and monitoring of performance. This style of leadership makes no attempt to be innovative. Rather, it’s founded on a long-term commitment to stability and predictability. Errors and flaws are thoroughly investigated, with the ultimate common goal of establishing efficient, routine procedures.

This management style is best suited to departments or organizations that demand routine and structure, as well as areas where firms wish to decrease confusion or inefficiency. However, it does not allow for the same level of creativity or long-term planning as transformational leadership does.

Transformational leadership, on the other hand, promotes agile environments, particularly those in which failure is less likely. You want the creation and maintenance of an existing product to be consistent and error-free, but you don’t want this to stifle future upgrades and improvements.

Transformative leadership frees employees to come up with new ideas and consider the future of products, services, and ideas, whereas transactional leadership ensures that a constant development process is in place.

  • Transactional Leadership Traits: As motivators, strict, structured, reward, and punishment are used, with the focus on the results rather than the individual.
  • Transformational Leadership Traits: Motivational, team-focused, mutual respect, vision-driven, and individual growth-centered.

Both of these leadership styles can be used, and in some cases, combined, to best serve a team’s function and achieve desired outcomes. It is the leader’s responsibility to determine which leadership approach will best motivate personnel to attain those objectives.

Make An Impact As A Transformational Leader

You can see how advantageous transformational leadership can be now that you understand the basics. You can not only answer the question, “What is transformational leadership?” but also “What is transformational leadership?” “However, why is it effective?” ” You might even be considering some practical methods to put this approach into action.”

Perhaps it’s time to consider continuing your education. A doctorate in organizational leadership (Ed.D.) will help you become visionary leader effectiveness who understands how to transform heterogeneous companies through collaboration, strategic thinking, and a deep commitment to lifelong learning.

Examples of Transformational Leaders

These companies were evaluated based on “new items, services, and business role models; repositioning its core business, and financial performance.”

Mark Bertolini, Aetna:

Bertolini is well-known in the healthcare profession for his pragmatic managerial style. His purpose, he says, is to develop tactics based on a realistic view of the future.

Kent Thiry, DaVita:

Thiry was able to turn a bankrupt company into a thriving one by emphasizing firm core values such as “customer quality, teamwork, accountability, and fun,” according to Harvard Business Review.

Emmanuel Faber, Danone:

Faber began his career at Danone as an architect before being promoted to CEO after assisting in the development of the firm’s mission to transform the company into a sustainable health and nutrition company.

Heinrich Hiesinger, ThyssenKrupp:

Hiesinger became CEO of ThyssenKrupp in 2011 and embraced contemporary manufacturing techniques, including as 3D printing, to help alleviate pressure from Asian steel competitors. These “new development sectors” now account for 47 percent of the company’s revenues.

Transformational Leadership Style Requirements

The following are some of the traits of transformational leaders:

  • They are extremely well-organized, and they want their followers to be inventive.
  • Team-oriented, with the expectation that followers will collaborate to achieve the greatest possible outcomes.
  • Respected by others, who in turn respect you
  • Acts as the team’s coach. He or she provides instruction and incentives in order to achieve the desired results.
  • They are responsible for their team, but they must also encourage accountability in their teammates.
  • Through rapport and personal influence, he earns respect

Advantages and Disadvantages of Transformational Leadership

In organizations when change is required, transformational leadership is effective. For young firms with no structure, the transformational leadership model for followers is not the best fit.

Transformational leadership pros:

  • Excellent at communicating new ideas
  • Building solid coalitions and generating mutual trust is something I’ve done before.

Transformational leadership cons:

  • Ineffective in the initial stage or ad-hoc situations
  • Require an existing structure to fix
  • Bad fit in bureaucratic structures

What are the Qualities of a Transformational Leader?

Let’s talk about some of the attributes that transformational leaders have before we get into the principles of transformational leadership and the 4 I’s of transformational leadership.

Many well-known transformative leaders appear to have inherited some of these characteristics. That isn’t to say that folks who want to learn how to be transformative leaders can’t pick up on some of these characteristics.

When determining who in your organization is a transformative leader, many will have attributes that set them apart. They can also be recognized by the group of people that have collected around them.

Transformational leadership habits, as well as transformational leadership strengths and flaws, will show up in their team. While not every member of the group will share the same characteristics as the transformative leader, the group as a whole will.

The Origins of Transformational Leadership

While the transformational leadership style’s principles are well-suited for today’s fast-paced, diverse, and technologically savvy workforce, the style is not new. James MacGregor Burns, a presidential biographer and leadership expert, is credited with coining the phrase in the 1970s.

Kevin Ford, an expert in organizational change and leadership development, improves on Burns’ initial concept. There are three effective leadership styles, according to Ford:

  • Tactical leaders concentrate on using operations-oriented knowledge to solve simple challenges.
  • Strategic leaders have a strong sense of the future and are able to keep a clear vision while forecasting industry and market changes.
  • Transformational leaders are more concerned with encouraging organizational cooperation that can assist move a vision forward rather than making decisions or formulating strategic goals.

It’s helpful to work through the numerous components that are essential to this management style as you get a better knowledge of transformational leadership. But first, consider the distinctions between transactional leaders and transformative leadership.

What are the Principles of Transformational Leadership?

1. The Principle of Simplification

One of transformational leadership’s strengths is the capacity to express even the most complex issues in a single, cohesive sentence. One of the transformational leadership qualities that allow this leadership style to collect a coalition behind them is the ability to capture a need for change in a vision.

2. The Principle of Motivation

These types of leaders have the ability to captivate the hearts and minds of their followers, motivate them behind the vision, and gain their devotion to the cause in addition to producing the vision.

3. The Principle of Facilitation

The ability to help others thrive and progress is included in the transformational leadership principles definition. This includes the ability to help individuals and groups learn more effectively.

4. The Principle of Innovation

This type of leader can spot areas where change is required and take the initiative to start and drive a project forward. When it comes to optimizing organizational efficiency and procedures, this principle demonstrates the value of transformational leadership.

5. The Principle of Mobilization

The ability to recruit, equip, and empower their team to achieve the vision they’ve set includes transformational leadership programs tactics. They can mobilize willing supporters of change more easily because of the trust they develop with their team and sentiments of mutual respect.

6. The Principle of Preparation

This is one of the transformative leadership concepts that some may feel requires improvement in some leaders. The ability to constantly learn about themselves through their interactions with others and change to be better is central to the notion of preparedness.

7. The Principle of Determination

A strong sense of determination is essential if you want to learn how to become a transformational leader. To be a driving force and to motivate others requires a lot of stamina. One of the most difficult aspects of transformative leadership positions is maintaining the resolve to keep moving forward so that followers are not disappointed.

4 Components of Transformational Leadership

Communication, charm, adaptability, and sympathetic support are all things that transformational types of leaders rely on while working with their workers to accomplish effective change. In practice, there are four main components to this leadership style:

Individualized consideration

Transformational leaders pay attention to their employees’ concerns and requirements in order to provide adequate support. They work on the assumption that what motivates one individual consideration may not motivate another. As a result, they’re able to adjust their management approaches to suit the needs of different members of their team.

Inspirational motivation

Transformational leaders may communicate a unified vision that motivates their teams to go above and beyond. They understand that those who have a strong sense of purpose are the most motivated. These superiors have no qualms about putting their employees on the spot. They are capable of instilling meaning in the work at hand while remaining optimistic about future goals.

Idealized influence

Ethical behavior is modeled by transformational leaders. Their moral behavior gains them the required respect and trust. This can assist leaders in making decisions that benefit the entire organization.

Intellectual stimulation

Transformational leaders routinely test assumptions, take risks, and request feedback and ideas from their teams. Not only do transformational leaders question the status quo, but they also push followers to be creative. They don’t fear failure and instead create an environment where it’s okay to talk, be innovative, and express different points of view. This allows employees to ask questions, exercise more autonomy, and eventually find more efficient ways to do their tasks.

How Does Transformational Leadership Work?

It is possible to learn how to lead in a transformational way. Just because you don’t have natural charisma doesn’t imply you can’t adopt transformative leadership traits.

At its most fundamental level, what is transformative leadership?

While some people appear to be instinctively drawn to charismatic and transformational leadership, it is not a personality trait. It’s a way of leading.

That is, once someone grasps the idea of transformational style leadership, it is a style that can be adopted and incorporated into one’s own.

How to Make Your Workplace a Place for Transformational Leadership

Given the numerous advantages of a successful transformational leadership strategy, it’s no surprise that so many employees are motivated to put these talents and beliefs into practice. Academics in the leadership community, on the other hand, disagree about whether “choosing” to be a transformative leader is as simple as it seems.

1. Work on Yourself as a Leader

It’s critical to examine how you operate as a leader before you can start making changes to your team and organization. Effective transformational leaders are empathetic, charismatic, and inspirational. These characteristics may not appear to be teachable, but as a leader, you may take action to improve them.

2. Establish a Positive Workplace Culture

Employees’ total work experience is becoming increasingly influenced by company culture. As a result, employers devote a great deal of time and attention to creating a pleasant work environment for their employees, including perks, events, and benefits in an effort to make each person feel valued by the company and hence driven to work more.

3. Practice Identifying and Facilitating Core Values

The first (and frequently most significant) impact a transformational leader may have is on an organization’s values by identifying and clarifying them. This could entail cleaning or revising the organization’s mission and vision statements, or simply ensuring that there is a clear distinction between the two. Transformational leaders can enter a new organization, assess what isn’t working, and devise a plan and set of recommendations to address the issues.


When applied properly, the transformational leadership style can be quite effective, but it isn’t always the greatest option. On other occasions, groups may demand a more managerial or autocratic approach that entails more control and direction, especially when group members are inexperienced and require a lot of supervision.

Assessing your existing leadership style and considering how your abilities can assist the group you are leading is one strategy to develop your own leadership skills. You will be better equipped to play to your strengths and concentrate on improving your areas of weakness if you assess your own abilities.