What is Transformational Leadership


Authored by Lee Wright in Society 
Published on 09-30-2009

Leadership is a crucial component to the success of almost any cooperative venture. A good leader can organize his followers and complete the tasks assigned as necessary. A transformational leader, however, can inspire his followers with a clear vision, impart enthusiasm for the task, and make every worker feel like a vital and important part of the organization. The group members can complete the assigned tasks while improving the morale, motivation, and performance of the overall group. A transformational leader will inspire loyalty and commitment in group members that leads to better results.

The four main components of transformational leadership are intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation, individualized consideration, and idealized influence. A successful transformational leader melds his group of followers using these techniques to make the group greater than the sum of its individual members.

Intellectual Stimulation

Transformational leadership includes allowing members of the group to participate and provide ideas and suggestions. Leaders solicit suggestions, inspire and encourage creativity, and transform followers into independent thinkers who can improve the execution and completion of tasks. They view the free exchange of ideas as an opportunity for the group to learn and improve performance and productivity. A transformational leader keeps the lines of communication open and allows members of the group to have a say in how tasks are completed.

Inspirational Motivation

Transformational leaders set high standards and then give their followers the tools to meet those standards. They inspire optimism, set clear goals, and provide clear motivation for the tasks. They can instill a sense of pride and confidence in their followers that leads to a sense of purpose and eagerness to complete the goals of the group. Transformation leaders have the communication skills to make their followers yearn to succeed and fulfill the leader’s vision. They encourage loyalty and instill a drive to complete the leader’s goals and vision, even in the leader’s absence.

Individualized Consideration

Transformation leadership involves motivating individuals with personal communication and support. Every team member is heard and acknowledged for their unique contribution. A good leader will assign tasks based on an individual’s particular skills and strengths. Every member is allowed to contribute to the success of the team and to be an integral part of fulfilling the group’s purpose. This positive reinforcement and open communication fosters self-improvement and respect for others in the work they are doing together.

Idealized Influence

A good transformational leader serves as a role model for his followers. Followers internalize the leader’s vision and goals and wish to emulate the leader. They want to make the group a success for the leader and genuinely admire, respect, and trust the leader. The leader in turn provides a concrete mission and instills feelings of pride and belonging for his followers. The group members are committed to working and succeeding for the leader in order to earn his or her respect and praise.

Although a good leader can help a group complete assigned tasks and meet goals, a transformational leader takes leadership to another level. He or she forms the group into a cohesive unit. The ultimate goal of the unit then becomes fulfilling the leader’s expectations as well as achieving goals. Transformational leaders inspire loyalty and commitment from the group that helps individual members fully realize their potential and maximize their contributions toward the ultimate success of the entire group.


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