Managing the workforce is a challenging task. The supervisor has to account for all sorts of employee difficulties and react with disciplinary actions accordingly. However, constant penalties do not boost performance most of the time. Motivation is a crucial aspect of success in any company, and it is the managers’ responsibility to provide their employees with it. This essay analyses the pros and cons of management’s transformational leadership style to determine in which circumstances it excels or underperforms.
Transformational leadership management is a set of five guidelines bound to increase employee performance. The method proved to be efficient and effective at managing the working force; however, like any other method, it has flaws and cannot apply to every situation. Transformational leadership steps are to define reality, articulate vision, create alignment, become a servant, and say “thank you” (Benson 2015). These steps are supposed to increase employee performance and allow them to feel more in control at work.
Defining reality is the first rule, and it has to do with mitigating all external factors from the employee’s work. It promotes interest in a worker’s personal life, financial well-being, and anxiety reduction. The external factors may affect the performance drastically, and for the management, it is important not to be disconnected from reality. The supervisors have to be aware of the company’s current circumstances and evaluate all the risks that may affect an employee’s performance.
The second step is the articulation of the company’s vision, which is informing the workers of the goals that the management is striving to achieve. This knowledge will help employees be certain about their future in the company and measure the amount of work required from them. It also ensures that employees do not consider the outcome of their performance luck or coincidence, but rather see themselves improving and being more efficient at what they are doing. If my management informs me of their plans and goals and sets a certain amount of work for me, I will feel less anxious, and it will undoubtedly motivate me.
The alignment creation may be complicated because it is not synonymous with the working process’s organization. Ordering workers to do specific tasks should not be an issue for a competent supervisor; however, it is far more challenging to convince them to share the company’s policy and vision. The alignment process includes concrete strategies, objectives, and priorities that every workforce member should be aware of and follow. The employees should be continuously reminded of the end goal of the company, which drastically improves performance.
Becoming a servant and expressing gratitude for a job done well are the final guidelines for transformational leadership supervisors. The first attitude implies making every possible aspect of a worker’s job more pleasant. The employee has to feel comfortable around the employer and know that taking risks and making mistakes is acceptable if the final result is improved performance. I have an example from my own working experience that proves the effectiveness of this step. After working for about a week at a new place, I started feeling anxious and desperate because I lacked particular skills and could not do my job correctly. My boss noticed that, and after work, we had a relaxing talk with her telling me about her mistakes and worries when she just started working. She explained to me that making mistakes is natural and typical for all beginners, and I should never be afraid of trying one more time or asking for help. That motivational speech still helps me to feel comfortable and strong.
It is also important to express gratitude to workers if they perform at an adequate level or better. This step is considered the most complicated because it is challenging to make employees feel important and recognized by the management. The “thank you” should be genuine, and for it to be so, the gratitude should encompass all the performance improvements and personal achievements the employee has accomplished.
However, this method has some limitations because it may not work with a certain type of employee. Mentioning external factors like financial well-being may make people who see their job as a means to escape from reality uncomfortable. Closing the distance between employee and employer may also negatively affect the latter’s authority. Some workers may think themselves equal to supervisors and underperform as a result. The same consequences apply to being a servant to employees because most of the working force will not appreciate what the supervisor is trying to achieve and take it as a given. Long gratitude speeches may also irritate some employees who are more interested in financial gains and promotions.
A good example is my previous employer patting me on the back and telling me what the company has achieved due to my efforts. This method was ineffective because I saw it as a summary of my work, a report. Not to mention the fact that only the company benefited from my work. A “thank you,” regardless of its complexity, is still just a verbal summary of performance, and some employees would rather appreciate an increase in their salary.
In conclusion, transformational leadership is a viable management strategy that can potentially drastically increase performance. Rather than focusing on penalties, it rewards employees and demonstrates a positive approach. It develops a clear vision of the company’s policy, priorities, plans, and objectives and provides the working force with a feeling of certainty. This management strategy also involves the mitigation of external factors and the decrease in staff’s anxiety. However, the application of the method should be situational because, in specific cases, it may have the opposite effect.
Benson, D. (2015). The five fundamental tasks of a transformational leader. Physician Leadership Journal, 2(5), 58–62.