Action Wheel Leadership
Transformational leadership is one of the styles of leadership designed to produce positive changes in individuals and organizations. Effective leadership styles create a sense of ownership.
Transformational leaders seek to enhance motivation, increase morale, and create emotional investments in an organization through a variety of techniques. They develop connections between their workers and the collective identity of the company by challenging employees to take ownership for their work.
These leaders serve as coaches and role models. Transformational leaders understand the strengths and weaknesses of their followers, assigning tasks that fall in line with their workers' skills and challenging their workers without defeating them. The ultimate goal of a transformational leader is to transform followers into leaders.
These leaders are often considered just the opposite of transactional leaders. Transactional leadership is a leadership style in which the chain of command is very clearly delineated and in which questioning the leader and/or his or her direction is highly discouraged.
There are four main components of transformational leadership:
Intellectual Stimulation: Transformational leaders seek to challenge their followers and they encourage creativity and innovation. They nurture freethinking and they try to create as many opportunities as possible for continued learning and growth. These types of leaders invite questions and push their workers to really think.
Individualized Consideration: These leaders function as mentors or coaches. They offer individual support and encouragement to their workers by keeping the lines of communication open and by fostering an environment where employees feel safe voicing their opinions and concerns. The one-on-one relationships allow the transformational leader to acknowledge and celebrate the individual strengths and contributions of each follower. In turn, the employees develop their own aspirations and intrinsic motivations based on their emotional investment in the organization.
Inspirational Motivation: Transformational leadership depends on the leader having a clear vision, and on the vision being one that they can successfully articulate to their followers. These leaders communicate optimism, foster a strong sense of purpose, and provide meaning for the tasks ahead. They ensure that the workers are engaged and that they feel confident in their abilities. This type of leader keeps morale high and propels the group forward by creating goals within goals and consistently recognizing achievements.
Idealized Influence: The ultimate goal is for the transformational leader to function as a role model. Ideally, this type of leader will have gained the respect and trust of his or her followers. If this is achieved, the workers will most likely begin to emulate the leader and internalize his or her ethics and ideals. In this case, these leaders must be prepared to provide a commendable example by holding themselves to the highest possible standards. By creating an idealized influence, the transformational leaders seek to affect positive change both now and into the future.
Of course, the transformational model can be highly effective, but it is almost entirely based on the abilities of the individual leaders. Some leaders may not have the force of character necessary to maintain consistently high levels of engagement and involvement.
However, since the goal of this style of leadership is to create leaders, if the proper groundwork has been laid, a true leader will be able to recognize that there is room for the followers to begin moving upwards and filling in the cracks.