What is Transformational Leadership and Why is it Effective?
Transformational leadership is redefining how people and organizations view leaders. They are no longer the individuals who impose a utilitarian way of getting things done but rather leaders are seen as coaches, mentors, and role models. This leadership style inspires change in the people they lead and within the organizational culture. There are many reasons and benefits of transformational leadership that should make everyone consider it.
What is Transformational Leadership?
While it seems that transformational leadership might be a recent development in the business and working world, it has been around for some time. The concept was credited to the presidential biographer James MacGregor in the 1970s. A few other leadership experts built off this concept which became what is now known as transformational leadership.
Transformational leadership is often compared to transactional leadership. In the latter, the leader and their employees engage in a system of exchanges to complete a certain task. Employees who meet their goals and complete a task achieve positive reinforcement or are rewarded for their accomplishment. Employees in the transactional leadership style are evaluated for their performance and given feedback so they can improve on that performance in the future.
On the other hand, transformational leadership goes beyond rewards and the typical feedback system. Leaders focus on building inspiration and motivation towards employees to support their goals. Employees and leaders have a shared vision. The intrinsic motivation in employees makes for an effective leadership style because it allows each employee (and the leaders) to achieve their full potential.
Benefits of Transformational Leadership
The following benefits of transformational leadership are reasons why more organizations should adopt this leadership style.
Makes work meaningful
There is an abundance of research studies that show the positive relationship between transformational leadership and improved work results. This type of leadership promotes autonomy among employees. This sense of autonomy increases productivity among employees because it shows that their leaders have confidence in their knowledge and ability.
As a result, they repay that by utilizing their fullest potential and giving it their best at work. Employees also do not show up at work just to clock in the hours; they show up at work knowing full well their contribution to the company.
Aside from being more confident at work, employees under a transformational leader are empowered because they are more intellectually stimulated. Their leaders constantly challenge them at work and instill the mindset of being open to any opportunity. There is a strong link between employee empowerment and job satisfaction. Therefore, it is a win-win situation for the organization.
Transformational leaders have good communication skills and they rely on these skills to make an impact on their employees. They can convey information in a precise and efficient manner. Furthermore, transformational leaders also emphasize the value of good communication to realize the company’s vision.
As a result, employees also practice their communication skills to clearly and concisely communicate with each other.
Focus on vision and action
One of the criticisms against transformational leadership is that it dwells too much on abstract concepts. However, transformational leaders are also focused on making things happen. They always start with the big picture and make sure that everyone on the team is on the same page with their vision. From there, they develop a concrete plan that turns that vision into action.
Improve decisiveness and optimism
The ability to build confidence in everyone on the team is the first step to success with transformational leadership. It is the fundamental basis of any leadership style and organizational success.
Transformational leaders channel their positive mindset and attitude to their employees. This positive attitude and mindset allow employees to take smart risks and explore opportunities that they wouldn’t pursue on their own. Decisiveness and optimism are a direct result of the transformational leadership style because it creates a supportive environment. It builds an environment that allows high-performing individuals to thrive.
Transformational leadership is not only effective in a corporate setting. It can also have various applications across numerous industries. For example, you can employ this leadership style in medical and healthcare, educational, or military settings. It is also a good leadership style to adopt for small to medium-sized businesses.
The leadership style and approach affect the effectiveness of the organization. Leaders play a pivotal role in directing where the organization is headed. They set objectives, gather resources, designate roles and responsibilities, and allocate the resources. Therefore, you must choose a leadership style that will set you up for success. Transformational leadership is one of the options available and it is proving to be one of the most effective.