Transformational leadership has been defined by Marshall (2011) as a leadership style whereby the leader determines the required change, develops a vision to guide this change by means of inspiration and implements this change with the dedication of other people. This type of leadership taps into the spiritual and emotional resources of the company. This style intends to develop leadership capabilities of the whole team. Such type of leaders, encourage other people to accomplish what may be perceived as extraordinary results. It includes an attention towards the spiritual, emotional intelligence and value systems (Bass and Riggio, 2012).
As per a basic understanding from the definition provided above it is comprehended that this form of leadership augments the performance, morale and motivation of the subordinates by a range of mechanisms. A leader following this style crosses the boundaries of regular operational management and devises his own strategies for taking his team to a level ahead. Transformational leadership emphasizes collaboration, motivation and team-building (Lang, 2011). This type of leader establishes goals and pushes his team members to a higher performance level. These leaders not just challenge the established norms but also promote innovation and creativity. Every individual employee is given equal attention and consideration. Leaders act as role models for their subordinates (Hacker and Roberts, 2003).
Transformational leadership style is very vital for the strategic development of a business and especially if it is small in size. When there is a transformational leader in a company, he brings an overall transformation in all sections. These leaders have the ability to retain employees because they know how to keep their workers happy (Gilbert, 2012).
Taking a real life example from my personal work situation, this concept is further elucidated in the below paragraphs. Our Senior Divisional Manager had the knack of converting each adverse situation into an opportunity and transformed low performers and notorious employees into a high performing and highly disciplined team. Our Division achieved immense growth in all the key performance areas for three years in a row. Our division was the largest in the zone as far as geographical extension and number of branches was concerned. As it was in the agricultural belt therefore it was seen as a backward area in context of new business, sales personnel and productivity.
However, this division was popular for many other reasons. Firstly, there was a powerful militant trade union which exercised great control over the workers. This union constantly threatened and pressurized the management. Moreover they also forced upon their will on the Divisional managers and the branch managers.
The development offices were largely badly equipped but had become laid-back under the control of a powerful trade union. Inter-group rivalries were also prevalent in several branches which affected the customer service area. Due to such unstable and violent conditions two Senior DMs left the zone in very short period of time. At this time, our present Divisional manager assumed his position. He was a very amiable person, simple, unassuming and had a frail physique. In fact he was suffering from rheumatoid arthritis for more than a decade. But he was very straight forwards and did not compromise on issues. When he joined this position, he was cautioned by his colleagues about the tough road that awaited him.
Sr. DM motioned a meeting with the Branch Managers where it came to light that their morale was very low due to being repetitively let down by one trade union or the other. The DM had a meeting with the leaders of different unions. These people raised awaiting issues and insisted on getting early solutions. DM promised to resolve all their genuine grievances. A novel software platform was to be installed in every branch of the Zone. This faced huge opposition from the unions. However, the DM took a strict stance to this objection and issued memos against all those who were resisting it. This turned out to be a revelation for several other pressure groups. The union also came to its senses.
The Branch managers were also empowered completely and they were assured complete support regarding their morally and legally legitimate actions. Confidence was restored in them. They were asked to work with no pressures and leave all the tensions to the DM. Branch managers now focused on their key performance areas and mainly the new businesses.
Consequently, tangible differences were visible in the Division’s performance as it bagged the 5th rank on first-class growth among a total of 12 Divisions in the zone. This ranking continued improving under new DM’s leadership.
Also read: Management & Leadership Across Culture
Hence, it can be concluded that transformational leadership has the power of completely transforming a company.
Books and Journals
- Bass, M. B. and Riggio, E. R. (2012). Transformational Leadership. 2nd ed. Psychology Press.
- Gilbert, K. (2012). Transformational Leadership. Xulon Press.
- Hacker, S. and Roberts, T. (2003). Transformational Leadership: Creating Organizations of Meaning. ASQ Quality Press
- Lang, M. (2011). Transformational Leadership. GRIN Verlag.
- Marshall, S. E. (2011). Transformational Leadership in Nursing: From Expert Clinician to Influential Leader. Springer Publishing Company.