Transformational leadership is a management style that involves motivating and inspiring employees to become effective team members. It also involves a close collaboration between the leader and the team members to increase efficiency. Before you decide if this is the right management style for your organization, it is important to take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of transformational leadership. These pointers will inform your decision if this leadership style aligns with your organizational objectives.
Transformational Leadership Advantages and Disadvantages
Some of the common techniques used in transformational leadership involve identifying common goals and objectives within the team, giving team members control over their tasks and duties, and identifying opportunities to match with the vision of your team members. Take note of the potential advantages and disadvantages of taking this approach to leadership.
Advantages of Transformational Leadership
Here are some of the advantages of transformational leadership.
1. Increases employee motivation
Employee motivation is an integral part of the transformational leadership style. The idea is that encouraging employees can increase their productivity by boosting their morale at work. You can also motivate employees through external incentives, such as rewards and bonuses, as well as through internal motivators.
Employee motivation comes as a result of the leader spending time to understand the employee’s interests and aligning that with their roles and responsibilities in the workplace. Therefore, their personal and professional goals are aligned and they can achieve both at the same time.
2. Reduced employee turnover
Higher employee turnover rates translate to more costs for the organization. It is also time-consuming because you have to go through the entire process of recruiting and training new employees, while also having a negative impact on productivity levels.
Transformational leadership can combat this workplace issue by making people feel valued and respected in the organization. Therefore, they are less likely to leave their job and look for better opportunities.
3. Develops team collaboration and unity
Transformational leadership can bring your employees together as one unit working towards a common goal. Transformational leaders are adept at assessing the current needs and situation of an organization. Hence, they can create a vision of the steps that a company must take to achieve its objectives. It also allows leaders to designate team members roles that fit their skills and interests, which can make work more enjoyable for them. Using this approach can bring about huge productivity gains for the organization because every team member works toward the same vision.
4. Promotes good ethics and open communication
Honesty and integrity are vital to a successful organization. You can achieve both through transformational leadership. Transactional leaders focus on completing a task and using any means possible to achieve it. On the other hand, transformational leaders focus on making sure that the values of the organization and the individual performing a task are aligned. It encourages the employee to perform at their best as it is within the best interests of the organization and is ethically driven.
5. Fosters professional growth and development
Transformational leadership not only boosts employee motivation but can also promote professional development. Transformational leaders appoint employees to tasks that utilize and hone their skill set while also challenging them to develop that skill set. This can be achieved with support from the leaders and encourages employees to take risks.
Disadvantages of Transformational Leadership
Here are some of the disadvantages of transformational leadership.
1. It focuses too much on the “Big Picture”
While looking at the big picture is important, there is a tendency for transformational leadership to become too fixated on that. It’s important to establish clear operational strategies to achieve more focus on the task at hand. Some employees need that guidance to be able to perform their duties and responsibilities effectively.
In addition, transformational leaders tend to focus on long-term goals over short-term goals.
2. Potential for employee burnout
Transformational leaders could end up breathing down the necks of their employees as the former pushes for the company’s vision and mission at every opportunity. As a result, some employees might find this setup to be an additional pressure for them as they perform their work, which in turn increases the tendency of employee burnout.
While transformational leaders must challenge their employees to grow professionally, there should still be a focus on a healthy work-life balance.
3. Slows down the decision-making process
Since transformational leadership requires input from all team members, it can slow down the business decision-making process. It’s valuable to get the perspective of every team member, but it shouldn’t be the case in every company decision. It could end up pulling down your productivity level.
4. Relies heavily on continuous communication
For transformational leadership to succeed, it relies heavily on maintaining an open line of communication with each other. When communication breaks down, it can affect everything else negatively.
Pros of transformational leadership:
- Enhanced employee motivation and engagement.
- Improved job satisfaction and commitment.
- Increased creativity and innovation.
- Better team performance and collaboration.
- Higher organizational performance and productivity.
- Development of future leaders through empowerment.
Cons of transformational leadership:
- Dependency on the leader’s presence and influence.
- Potential for limited perspectives.
- High expectations leading to burnout or stress.
- Ineffectiveness in certain contexts or with resistant followers.
- Reliance on charismatic traits, limiting scalability.
- Potential neglect of operational efficiency.
Disadvantages of transformational leadership theory:
- Dependency on the leader, which may not be sustainable.
- Selective focus on specific leadership qualities.
- Limited applicability in all organizational contexts.
- Potential for misuse or manipulation.
- Overemphasis on inspiration alone.
- Lack of focus on operational efficiency.