The essential component of this leadership style is reciprocity between the two parties, as the name of the theory suggests. Incentives, such as rewards for good work and punishment for not completing the task is the main idea of this approach. The primary strength of this approach is a clear goal and understanding of achievements that people work towards, defined by the leader. Additionally, this approach implies a clear structure of responsibilities, meaning that each employee is aware of his role. Besides, this approach emphasises productivity since an individual receives a reward if a particular benchmark is reached, which is beneficial for an organisation.
The main weakness of this theory is the fact that a leader has to monitor followers’ behaviour in order to impose incentives for their work. Moreover, another weakness is that leaders must provide precise instructions for each task to ensure success, which is time-consuming and mitigates the ability to work on other organisational issues. Finally, transactional leadership can affect a worker’s creativity negatively, since each task and responsibility are outlines precisely. This can be critical for some organisations, which focus on growth and development.
The main concepts of this approach suggest that the process or the interactions between a leader and their followers is essential, as it affects the outcomes of work. Thought this approach, one can affect the values and behaviour of individuals, which will help them accomplish tasks that they would not complete without influence from a transactional leader. Therefore, emotions of followers have an essential role in the success of a transformational leader.
The main strengths is a high moral and ethical standard that these leaders promote, which is beneficial for employee motivation and emphasises the needs of the followers. Next, the shared vision that the leader creates is another strength that helps people work towards a mutual goal, creating an intuitive appeal. Finally, followers working with these leaders can grow and develop professionally, which enables effectiveness.
The first weakness is the possibility of a leader engaging in a pseudo-transformational work, where the interests of followers are overlooked. This means that a leader uses the same techniques to encourage or motivate employees, such as a bonus or a promotion. However, the personal interests of a leader and not the followers guide these actions. Secondly, this leadership theory has several overlaps with transformational leadership, making it confusing. Finally, this approach is based on the leader’s traits, mitigating the possibility of training leaders to use this approach.
The focus of this approach is genuine leadership or the relationship between a person’s self-concept and their actions. In general, such leaders base their approach on their life experience, which makes their strategy unique, since they do not copy from other organisations. The feeling of purpose, values and relationships with others are essential for these leaders. The major strengths of this approach are the ability to provide guidance to people and fulfil the role of a leader where necessary. Additionally, these leaders emphasise values, either collective or personal. Finally, this leadership style can be adopted by anyone if a person can learn to act authentically.
There are weaknesses that define authentic leadership, including the fact that this approach is relatively new and requires more research and a clear definition of concepts. Narcissism may be mistaken for authentic leadership, where an individual considers his actions as beneficial for others. Additionally, the distinction between authentic and honest leaders is unclear.