Transformational Leadership

Subject: Leadership Styles
Pages: 15
Words: 4237
Reading time:
16 min
Study level: PhD


The world is dynamic and changing the existence of a complex environment demands that leaders depart from traditional methods of leadership to more flexible to most suitable handle the situation. Leadership is the capability of influencing a group toward the achievement of an organization’s goal (Adair 2003). Traditional ways of leadership were rigid, individualistic, controlling and dispassionate and therefore not strategic in nature because leaders were more authoritarian and bureaucratic. Modern theories of leadership are more concurrent, collective, collaborative, and compassionate encouraging brainstorming and sharing of ideas to aid in the formation of appropriate strategies to play a big role in decision making. Leaders and managers who choose to adopt traditional methods of leadership may find themselves in problems, in fact, employees hate highly autocratic styles of leadership which are similar to political dictatorship (Ready 2003). If a leader uses an unsuitable style of leadership then workers’ output and motivations messy end up being affected in a negative way.

The concept of servant leadership is becoming more common and effective and therefore makes leadership more efficient and result-oriented. In traditional forms of leadership, leaders used to hoard information and knowledge by believing that by sharing such information then they would, in turn, lose their power and authority but the 21st-century calls for transformational leadership strategies that bring out the best in subordinates such as leadership strategies would involve leaders to working hand in hand with subordinates to bring organizational change and result in positive output in all functional areas of an organization. Classical leadership methods were therefore more transactional, unlike modern leadership theories which are more transformational (Adair 2003). Transformational leadership aims to change the overall behavior of employees and bring positive change in the organization the greatest leaders in the world always aim to change the overall performance of employees by transforming their thought and behavioral patterns by influencing and inspiring them to become better by applying Intellectual Stimulations leaders promote Promotes intelligence, encourage rational thinking, and successful problem-solving at the same time leaders provide (Ready 2003).

Individualized consideration that concentrates on the needs of each and every employee. Furthermore, transformational leadership doesn’t require one to necessarily be in a formal position of leadership but rather working hand in hand with others and exerting influence by inspiring and communicating with others to bring about organizational change (Bass et al. 2003).

A strategic leader is required to possess both managerial and leadership qualities such a leader should effectively be able to plan, control, organize and direct various activities and personnel in order to realize success and achievement of organizational goals. Furthermore, such leaders should be able to innovate and come up with new techniques and processes that will enable the organization to be put in a place of advantage, the same leader should also focus on people and the task at the same time and maintain equilibrium between the two (Johannsen 2010). If employees feel ignored then the outcome of the task will ultimately be affected therefore inspiring and motivating personnel should be a pillar of strategic leadership. A strategic leader has his eye on the horizon and therefore he/she is futuristic but at the same time, the same leader watches his/her step therefore not forgetting short-run events that may affect the overall desires which lie in the future which is the long run (Bass et al. (2003).

Leadership theories and styles in the context of Leaderful leadership

There is much leadership which includes Relationship theories, Participative theories, Situational Theory, Contingency theory, Trait theories and Great man’ Theories. And many much more it is these leadership theories that determine try to explain the type of leadership style that a particular leader will be able to follow to bring about positive organizational change. A leader can choose leadership styles that range in a continuum representing autocratic to democratic styles of leadership. Autocratic styles of leadership are traditional styles of leadership while democratic styles of leadership are more suitable for creating Creating Leaderful Organizations (Mack 2010). In a democratic style of leadership, a leader will most likely be concurrent, collective, collaborative, and compassionate. Instead of giving orders, and deadlines, a leader goes ahead to take part in the process of coming up with solutions.

Adopted From Stogdill (1974) Handbook of Leadership: A Survey of the Literature.
Diagram 1: Adopted From Stogdill (1974) Handbook of Leadership: A Survey of the Literature.

A continuum of leadership styles that can be pursued by leaders in organizations depending on the team and tasks at hand.

According to (Yukl 2001). Great man theories imagine the skill for leadership is innate that is to say leaders are born not made. This theory states that a leader cannot be made but a leader has to be born with certain characteristics that enable the person to become a leader. Furthermore, these theories postulated that men were better leaders than women. Not just anyone could become a leader and therefore this theory was considered weak and unsuitable for good leadership because it was rigid and unrealistic. (Ring & Perry 1985)

Trait theories In reference to Stogdill (1974), trait theories have the following presupposes that individuals inherit some personal and attributes that make them leaders, some attributes are specifically suitable for leadership positions therefore individuals that are great leaders have a good combination of attributes. These theories propose that a child of a leader can be a leader by inheriting some of the characteristics of the parent who is a leader. This is not automatically true, as some children born of leaders end up being subordinates and not leaders as people may expect, just because their parent was a leader does not mean that someone will become a leader. Such a theory, therefore, is not likely to offer a chance for teamwork but rather decisions originate from a single individual.

Under Contingency theories, Yukl (2001) states that contingency theories concentrate on specific alterable things reliant on the environment that may decide on a leadership style in a certain situation. This theory concludes that different circumstances require different leadership approaches and no one approach can be used for all situations. A leader’s ability to lead depends on the leadership style the leader uses, situations when leadership is put into action, the attitudes of the people being led just to mention but a few. Hersey & Blanchard (1977), argues that the state of affairs determines which leadership technique would be most efficient. Contingency theories belong to the group of behavioral theory stress on the fact that there is no specific way that is best when it comes to leadership and a certain style that worked in a certain situation will not necessarily work in another. Therefore depending on the task a leader can either make decisions unilaterally or involve teams consisting of his subordinates.

Situational theory In reference to Hersey, and Blanchard (1977), situational theory suggests that leaders pick the most excellent option to act on deeds based on the alterable aspects of the state of affairs hence, there is no one best leadership style. The theory argues that efficient leadership is task-based and great leaders adjust their techniques of leadership according to the sensibleness of the people they are leading. That efficient leadership depends on the people being led, the task at hand, and the end product. These theories are advantageous as they are easy to understand and use. It is argued that the construction industry is a project-based venture, which delivers one-of-a-kind goods, for instance, buildings.

Behavioral Theories According to Bass et al. (2003), behavioral theories are founded on the conviction that leaders are made and not born. This theory suggests that individuals can learn how to be leaders through observing others and being taught. Like the name suggests leaders are determined and defined by how they behave and the behavior characteristics they possess. The theory centers on improving leadership as compared to looking for innate traits that one is born with. A leader will be named or asked to lead on how they carry themselves around people and more so on how they act. This means that in organizations when it comes to promoting individuals to leadership positions, the management will assess and look at how each of their candidates behaves. Therefore the candidate who is more likely to get the promotion is the one with the most outstanding behavior and has a wonderful record of behavior among his peers, subordinates and also leaders.

Participative theories imply that good leadership is the type of leadership that takes the feelings and contributions of other people into consideration (Drath 2001). These theories push for the involvement of all members of the team when it comes to decision making; in this case, the participation leads to much a better perception of the subject at the moment and improved dedication between the members of the team. For example, this type of leadership in an organization will require a leader to consult with his subordinates when it comes to making decisions, and also work hand in hand with his subordinates for better results for the company as a whole. This kind of theory requires an organization to work as one both leaders and subordinates to work as a unit so as to prosper as a unit, as it calls for and requires the affected people to be included in the actions undertaken by the company.

“Relationship theories referred to as transformational theories also are based on the connotations between the leaders and followers” (Johannsen 2010). These theories assert that, for employee potential to be realized, leaders must reassure and appreciate their input in the organization. These theories state that leaders are fundamental when it comes to instigating the employee’s regard, loyalty and devotion by means of an eloquent comprehensible and persuasive visualization. These theories focus on budding common trust, nurturing the leadership competencies of other people, and establishing aims that go ahead of the short-term necessities of group work. The theories also learn how leaders come up with ideas for an organization, how they present the idea to the employees and how the leaders carry out the vision together with the employees. In the construction industry, you need total cooperation between the leaders, subcontractors and the workforce, and it is the role of the management to foster a workable relationship among the participants in order to succeed in the project. Leaders need not be harsh and assertive with the people but negotiate and consult when the need arises (Raelin 2000).

Leaders and Leaderful organizations

Carly Fiona was the C.E.O of hp between 1999 to 2005 she will be most remembered for making hp the most successful personal computer and printer company. Carly Fiona was the type of leader who inspired technical and superior performance and innovation in hp furthermore Carly Fiona oversaw the merger between Compaq and hp making hp the largest personal computer company in the world. Under her leadership, the staff and workforce of hp were encouraged and perform superiorly and derive results. Carly Fiona encouraged a compassionate, collective, collaborative and concurrent that was directed towards delivering results (George et al. 2006).

Autonomous business units were encouraged to practice leadership and come up with ideas that would drive hp towards becoming the world leader in computer technology, service delivery and technology. Carly Fiona became the chief tactician by gathering the opinions of other employees and incorporating them in strategic planning and fostering a competitive spirit within the workforce of HP. The brightest brains in hp that did not happen to be part of management or formal leadership were allowed to practice their creativity and technological leadership and incorporate it into benefiting hp as an organization. Furthermore functional such as finance, human resource, marketing, research and development, operation and logistics and others were given a broad guideline and authority to make decisions. Workers in various departments especially research and design whose main objective was inventing and innovation worked in groups to come up with perfect ideas Carly Fiona understood that other organizational leaders may have lacked the expertise and technical abilities that other subordinates may have possessed and therefore encouraged that all employees practice some form of leadership within their functional area as long as it would benefit HP (George et al. 2006).

Carly Fiona was not a fan of lassies faire style of leadership and therefore called on all managers to form relationships and be part of the solution-making process by being in touch with subordinates (Johannsen 2010). It is through this that HP came up with a unified corporate setup and its famous HP logo together with the slogan invent. Furthermore, Carly Fiona was compassionate stating that subordinates and employees should be treated with some dignity even if it meant losing their jobs and therefore instead of implementing blind layoffs employees should be laid off with dignity and therefore suggested that only employees who don’t perform should lose their jobs.

Sam Walton was the founder of Wal-Mart stores who came from a humble beginning to own one of the largest consumer goods stores in the world. Sam Walton believed in having fun while leading he was a skilled, talented and revolutionary leader who ended up accelerating the growth of the retailing industry. He was the kind of leader who had a close relationship with his wal-mart employees Walton type of leadership was similar to the Leaderful type of leadership that encourage employees to learn, gain skill, air their opinions and make decisions where necessary therefore ensuring high involvement of employees and motivation (Johannsen 2010).

Wal-Mart being a consumer store that had an objective and goal delivering the complete customer experience that would encourage repeated consumer purchases and therefore concentrating on delivering top-notch customer service and affordable products were the key concerns of Walton. Walton encouraged his employees to speak out and reach to him and come up with ideas that would improve the operations of wal-mart. Furthermore, he developed programs that encouraged self-realization and teamwork that collectively brought employees together as teams and enabled them to be flexible by offering quick solutions and making decisions that involved problems that were linked to consumers. (Steers et al.1996).

While dealing with consumer and customer needs and complaints it is very vital to have a comprehensive feedback system that gathers the most appropriate issues and communicates these issues to the workforce enabling the workforce and leadership to come together and gather ideas that will go into creating strategies that will improve service delivery within the organization. Walton made sure that he implemented a two-way communication and feedback system that would assist employees to come together in various groups and therefore in turn foster a team spirit that would assist in the process of service delivery (George et al. 2006). In other words, Walton ensured that relevant systems that encouraged concurrent leadership was put in place this is because he understood that employees were talented and did not need to be among the top management or top guns within the organization in order to initiate change. Furthermore, Sam Walton was a compassionate leader who took time into understanding the needs and desires together with their problems because he was compassionate.

William Edwards Deming was an American statistician, professor, and renowned author, academic in the field of statistical control and engineering, and consultant. He is still considered a hero in Japan for revolutionizing the manufacture of innovative products and contributing to the ascension of the Japanese economy. Deming will be remembered as a leader who came up with a unique management theory and philosophy that applied both in manufacturing and business enterprises. Deming is known to have inspired many entrepreneurs, corporations such as ford and even governments into using his management models to bring about change in organizations. Deming’s philosophy of management stated that for organizations to transform then the individual must be transformed in order to perceive new meaning into his/her life And therefore when individuals are transformed and acquire knowledge then these individuals will, in turn, apply these principles that transformed him/her in every kind of relationship in life, and therefore transform organizations and institutions by setting an example and continually teaching other people to become better and in turn inspire them (Johannsen 2010). Transformed and enlightened individuals will therefore abandon their past practices and adopt an appreciation system that will appreciate consumers, suppliers and producers that will be primarily enabled by establishing a feedback system. Secondly, this system will enhance learning and the gain of knowledge among individuals and groups within the organization, a manager should therefore understand his people and ensure that there is no big variation of knowledge within the organization furthermore he believed in applying psychological concepts of human life in management. Deming is a leader that believed that everyone in the organization was to be involved in the process of making the organization better it was only up to the management, supervisors and leaders to bring change but also the duty of the workers working in the factory floor to play their part.

Deming had an opportunity to work with Ford and Marshal industries between 1985-1990 who were not doing so well then and was experiencing losses and awkward cost structures. Deming assisted these companies to apply principles of evolutionary leadership that are similar to Leaderful leadership that made these organizations turn around and improve on operations and become Leaderful organizations. Deming’s philosophies ensured that organizations apply concurrent and collaborative leadership that empowers employees and teams to come together and practice leadership in their own capacity as individuals and assist management and top leadership improves the overall position of the organization (Johannsen 2010). By advising institutional leaders to apply psychological principles in running organizations that looked into the individual needs of subordinates is proof that shows that he was an advocate of passionate leadership. (Steers et al.1996).

William Boeing is the founder of Boeing Aircraft Company which came into full existence during the First World War after he got orders from the American government to supply 55 warplanes to the government. Boeing is the leading producer of commercial jetliners and noncommercial aircraft in the world. An aircraft like Boeing has a motto of ensuring high-quality production of airliners that ensure maximum safety of passengers (BOEING 2010).

During his tenure as the leader of Boeing flourished by manufacturing superior and cheap aircraft that could be used for military and commercial purposes. William Boeing was initially a businessman within the timber industry his fascination with aircraft pushed him into the aircraft industry where he recruited individuals with know-how and worked together with individuals who had more knowledge than him to make Boeing the largest airline manufacturer in the world it is believed that after learning how to fly an airplane Boeing became interested in constructing airplanes and therefore enlisted a cluster of technical assistants, slightly over ten men and work of building the first Boeing plane begun (BOEING 2010).

William Boeing was a revolutionary leader who understood the importance of teamwork and leadership to build such a company without any technical expertise in Aviation. Boeing was a leader who gave everything that someone had to say. Today’s technological advances in the aircraft industry such as the creation of the pressurized cabin and special technology that NASA uses in its space mission are all available thanks to the kind of strategic leadership foundation that William Boeing. William Boeing laid a foundation that has enabled staff who work for Boeing to be able to collaborate and work concurrently in order to come up with appropriate technology and come up with innovative models of aircraft. He was a compassionate leader who followed his passion and allowed aviation engineers and experts to carry out their functions in a suitable working environment (Ready 2003). Boeing is a good example of a company that advances not by using self-leadership but rather by using team leadership by applying appropriate systems of communication and feedback which enable employees to meet their individual needs, team needs and furthermore task needs. Individuals who are considered experts or geniuses are allowed to come up with ideas that will be assimilated into the company’s overall policies (Kelley 1988). Continuous programs that ensure employees are knowledgeable and empowered were used to ensure that information asymmetry was there as far as the tasks which wear involved. William Boeing may not have known a lot about aircraft but he was humble enough to let those who were experts take over and work in their own way to produce results that were in line with organizational goals (Steers 1996).

John T. Chambers is the chairman and C.E.O of CISCO Systems Inc he is the leader who oversaw CICCO’s revenues rise from $1.2 billion to approximately $40 billion since he joined the organization. Chambers has received numerous awards for his exemplary leadership furthermore he is one of the world’s most respected C.E.O’s according to business week and chief executive magazine. Under his leadership, Cisco has been named America’s most admired company by fortune magazine. John’s style of leadership is the kind of leadership that aims to encourage, Coaching, Listening employees with the aim of making them become better and therefore in turn form a leaderful organization that would continue functioning without necessarily having supervisors and the top management following upon them to increase their output. Donlon (2000) notes “Chambers believes that Cisco’s competitive edge lies not with the company’s technology, acquisition skills, or business process, he will tell you, but with Cisco people.”

John chamber’s style of leadership is unique and effective and therefore encourages all organizational members to become better subordinates who are performance and result-oriented. John chambers style of leadership insists that employees should gain necessary skills pertaining to their functional areas and furthermore inter-organizational communication and coaching between the leadership and subordinates are considered a very serious part of forming a leaderful organization. (Donlon 2000).

Chambers came up with a customer-oriented, performance-driven yet informal culture at Cisco. Finally, Chambers ‘crisis management skills were able to see Cisco through its bad phases. Chambers believes in cultivating an organizational culture that makes every individual working in every functional area within Cisco behave as if they are leaders and work besides the formal leadership structures on their own and work with an aim of maximizing output within that area (Donlon 2000). Chambers, therefore, believes that there is a leader within each and every organizational member and therefore organizational members need to be inspired to practice self-leadership and work together in teams with another organizational member to bring about positive change within the organization (Kelley 1988)

Stephen McConnell also known as Case is best known as the founder and former C.E.O and chairman of American online an online computer service company. American online is known to champion many innovative online interactive titles, games and graphical chart environments. In January 2000 McConnell and the executives played a big role in the merger between AOL and media giant Time Warner. The main idea of coming up With AOL came to Steve’s case while playing and exploring his personal computer while he was still working for Procter and Gamble he was fascinated with the possibilities and entrepreneurial potential on the internet (Academy of Achievement 2009).

When Case took over leadership at AOL in 1993 AOL was still trailing CompuServe which was its biggest competitor being a leader with a different approach of leadership Case encouraged employees to become innovative and come up with innovative, convenient and user-friendly products that could be used by its consumers online either on the phone or on computers. Organizational members were urged to practice leadership within their various functional areas to come up with products and innovative services (Ready 2003). Individuals, therefore, worked concurrently and collectively to increase the output of AOL. Empowerment and delegation of decision-making among creative groups enabled the quick development and implementation of ideas.

Managers worked together with teams to develop ideas that would in turn help AOL overtake previous industry leader CompuServe and furthermore acquire its business units and integrate into AOL. A comprehensive communication system similar to the 720-degree style of communication and feedback was put into place to encourage the flow of information and ensure information asymmetry was no longer an issue in such a company dealing with a dynamic environment (Drath 2001). Concurrent styles of leadership which enabled employees with more talent and expertise than formal leaders was encouraged in the organization by CASE’s leadership style making AOL the largest internet company until its acquisition by Time Warner (Zaleznik1977).


Traditional styles of leadership are outdated and in today’s dynamic business environment leaders who use them may find themselves in a real dilemma (Ready 2003). This is because such a system is rigid and inflexible, therefore unsuitable for highly skilled and talented employees who search for motivation and some degree of democratic space in the workplace which would allow them to practice some degree of creativity individually and through teamwork. Companies that fail in leadership may end up overtaken and much worse absorbed by other companies who have embraced modern more democratic styles of leadership that focus their efforts towards creating Leaderful organizations which create a suitable culture for employees and subordinates to practice their creativity and embrace the leader in them and subsequently be motivated to produce increased output that is for the benefit of the organizations (Mack 2010). Modern types of leadership encourage the 4C’s of leadership which ensure concurrent, collective, collaborative and compassionate leadership that is both people and task-oriented.


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