Situational Leadership vs Transformational Leadership

Subject: Leadership Styles
Pages: 5
Words: 1414
Reading time:
6 min
Study level: PhD

Reflective Personal Development Plan

Leadership enables one to accomplish a task by using the aid and support of others (Chemers, 1997). A leader provides guidance to other individuals to help them achieve a particular goal or objective. Leaders should set clear visions and have the right attitude to execute their plans effectively. An inspirational leader should know his or her weaknesses and strengths, be unique and practice empathy.

Several leadership theories have revealed the attributes of good leaders in relation to their traits, functions, behavior, and situational interaction. Setting a reflective leadership plan helps leaders to meet their preset goals and achieve success. For leaders to be successful, they have to study and understand the various leadership styles, set clear visions, lay down the actions that need to be taken to achieve the intended objectives, involve workers in their plans, monitor the progress of their plans, and assess their output.

Situational Leadership Theory

This theory was developed by Hersey and Blanchard (1969) and it states that there is no uniform style of leadership that can be considered the best. The best leadership style to use depends on the task at hand. Good leaders use the styles that best suit the situation they are in. The maturity of leaders is determined by the standard of the attainable goals they set, their ability and willingness to be responsible for the task undertaken, and their level of education and experience. The efficiency of a particular leadership style depends on one’s character, the level of cooperation received from subordinates, and the task to be carried out (Blanchard, Zigarmi, & Zigarmi, 1985). The situational theory of leadership involves 4 steps: telling, selling, participating, and delegating.

Transformational Leadership Theory

This theory aims at improving the morale, motivation and performance of workers. The theory helps workers identify with the organization and the tasks they are given to carry out. A leader should act like a role model when interacting with subordinate workers and inspire them where necessary. Leaders should give their followers freedom to own the tasks assigned to them, but that should only happen after establishing their strengths and weaknesses.

Transformational leadership has four elements: personalized consideration, intellectual incentive, inspirational motivation, and idealized influence. Personalized consideration signifies the rate at which the needs of each follower are attended to. Leaders should give mentorship to their followers and must be sensitive to their needs and concerns by addressing them efficiently and promptly. Intellectual incentive is the rate at which propositions by workers are critiqued by their leaders, after which some risks taken and some of their ideas adopted. The creativity of every employee is well stimulated when a leader employs this style of leadership. This is because junior workers are allowed to think independently and learn new things.

Inspirational motivation refers to the rate at which visions, which are more attractive to workers, are acknowledged by their leaders. The more inspirational a leader is, the more his or her followers are willing to take bigger challenges. Providing a comprehensive meaning to the task, being optimistic about future goals, and setting high, but achievable, goals, enable workers to have a sense of purpose. Idealized influence occurs when leaders act as role models by practicing ethical behavior; such conduct helps them instill pride in their followers and earn their respect and trust (Bass & Riggio, 2008).

The Strengths of Transformational Leadership

The theory ensures that all the workers do their best in carrying out the tasks they are given. Transformational leaders motivate their subordinates, create a favorable working environment for them, give them a chance to make crucial decisions, and take blame for their mistakes. This ensures that employees work under minimum pressure and deliver impressive results.

The leadership style also ensures that the organization functions as one system, as it gets rid of any repelling divisions. Transformational leaders constantly work toward managing diversity; although workers may be of different ethnic backgrounds, all of them are made to feel equal due to the fair treatment they receive from such leaders. Consequently, they co-exist like a united family and work together without any divisions (Bennis & Nanus, 1997).

Transformational leadership is able to transfer various skills from leaders to their employees. Additional experience in managing employees also makes transformational leaders more competent.

The transformational leadership style is characterized by a mandatory vision; having a vision helps leaders and their employees to know exactly what they want to achieve. It also enables them to come up with effective strategies to achieve the intended objectives.

Weaknesses of Transformational Leadership Theory

Most transformational leaders want to see changes occur immediately, which is one of the weaknesses of the theory (Cilliers & Vinger, 2006). Impatience makes such leaders feel disappointed when the changes they make fail to bear fruit promptly.

The other weakness is that places with employees of different races are characterized by diversity problems such as racial prejudice. As a result of language barrier, employees who speak different indigenous languages may not find it easy to cope with each other.

Gaps Between Situational and Transformational Leaders

  • Transformational leaders are persistent in terms of enhancing interaction, while their situational counterparts focus on facilitating the work they want done.
  • Transformational leaders concentrate on the motivation and wellbeing of their followers, while their situational counterparts concentrate on the tasks and roles carried out by their workers.
  • Transformational leaders desire positive relationships, while their situational opponents mainly yearn for positive results.
  • Transformational leaders emphasize on communication and team membership, while their situational counterparts concentrate on setting up and formulating plans to achieve their goals.

Action Items to Close the Gaps

Closing the gap requires research on how the production of an organization is affected by the two leadership styles, and they way in which work place relationships are impacted. The study will be carried out in two firms using the two different methods of leadership; a questionnaire will be designed and used as the main methodology of the study. The questions should contain all the elements of each leadership style to achieve the intended results regarding production levels and working relationships. The questionnaires will be used to conduct an analysis of the two leadership styles to come up with the best ways of closing the gaps between them.

The questionnaire will be designed within two days to cover all the gaps that exist. It will then be filled by the identified firms within one week. An analysis on the effects of the style of leadership on relationships and productivity will be done in a couple of days. In addition, recommendations and conclusions will be made on the best ways of closing the gap.

Impacts of the Plan on Transformational Leadership

The plan will ensure that transformational leadership considers productivity as an important element in management. Leaders will begin to motivate their followers and make them take responsibility for their actions. They will also become more flexible by changing their short-term goals when conditions vary to achieve the intended vision.

On the other hand, all the workers will take responsibility for both positive and poor performance. They will stop being negligent and will work hard to produce the desired results. The organization will focus on establishing a good relationship between the employees and their leaders to ensure high productivity.

Assessing the Plan

Once the new plan is implemented, another research will be carried out on its effect on the leaders, their followers and the organization. When the leader performs normally or in a better way, the new plan will be considered to be beneficial to the organization. Employee satisfaction will indicate that workers love the plan. If the organization is able to maintain a good relationship among employees and improve its productivity, then the plan will be considered to be successful in reducing the gaps between the two leadership styles.

Assessment Score for the Plan.

Leader-Member Relations Task Structure Leader’s Position Power Most Effective Leader
Good Structured Strong Task-oriented
Good Structured Weak Task-oriented
Good Unstructured Strong Task-oriented
Good Unstructured Weak Relationship-oriented
Poor Structured Strong Relationship-oriented
Poor Structured Weak Relationship-oriented
Poor Unstructured Strong Relationship-oriented
Poor Unstructured Weak Task-oriented

According to Griffin and Ebert (2010), no single leadership style, whether transformational or situational, can be termed as the best. Although one can choose to be task or relationship oriented, an effective leader merges the relevant traits of both leadership styles; one should use the leadership style that is best suited for the task or situation at hand (Griffin & Ebert, 2010, p. 136).


Bass, B. M., & Riggio, R. E. (2008). Transformational leadership. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc.

Bennis, W., & Nanus, B. (1997). Leaders: The strategies for taking charge. New York, NY: Harper and Row.

Blanchard, K. H., Zigarmi, P., & Zigarmi, D. (1985). Leadership and the one minute manager: Increasing effectiveness through situational leadership. New York, NY: Morrow.

Chemers, M. (1997). An integrative theory of leadership. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

Cilliers, F., & Vinger, G. (2006). Effective transformational leadership behaviors for managing change. A Journal of Human Resource Management, 4(2), 1-9.

Griffin, R. J., & Ebert, R. W. (2010). Business essentials. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Hersey, P., & Blanchard, K. H. (1969). Management of organizational behavior: Utilizing human resources. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.