Transformational Leadership Theory And Criticism

Posted under Uncategorized on Monday 10 December 2012 at 1:22 am

transformational leadershipDevelopment of Transformational Leadership Theory

The concept of transformational leadership was firstly introduced in 1978 by James McGregor Burns, who created  The Model of Moral, Transaction and Transformational Leaders. Burns presented T-type leader as a person, who “… recognizes and exploits an existing need or demand of a potential follower…  looks for potential motives in followers, seeks to satisfy higher needs, and engages the full person of the follower” (Burns, 1978).

Later on, a famous theorist Bernard Bass has been investigating the issues of transformational leadership. He modified the Model of Burns, determining T-type leaders as leaders with higher requirements and personal qualities, like ability to mobilize a person to reach needs of higher level in Maslow’s hierarchy, or ability to change social environment, etc. In 1985 Bennis and Nanus did an experimental study, which helped to differentiate Transactional and Transformational leaders. These specialists launched principle of “4 I’s” for T-type leaders, which helped to clarify transformational concept (see previous article here).

Seven Principles of  Transformational Leadership by Eric Rees

A modern American researcher Eric Rees offers a very interesting model for this type of leadership, which is called “Seven Principles of transformational leadership”. It illustrates structural approach to successful transformational leadership and can be useful for studying and consideration.

The first is Principle of Simplification, which shows ability of a T-type leader to make the followers understand their final goals by creating transformational vision, the concept of particular organizational activity. The second is Principle of Motivation, which means encouraging, challenging and motivating people to develop organizational activity according to the vision. The third Principle of Facilitation means ability of a T-type leader to organize the process of learning, training or practicing, and to make it the most effective.

The other Principle of Mobilization and Principle of Innovation display correspondingly abilities of T-type leaders to accumulate the leaders of lower levels around the vision and to launch any sort of changes, when they are required. Two last Principle of Preparation and Principle of Determination are the most important for transformational leadership. Preparation means readiness of a T-type leader to develop and strengthen his leadership by improving his personal qualities. Determination of such a leader shows his willpower to fulfill the mission of organization no matter what.

Criticism 0f  Transformational Leadership Theory

Some theorists criticize the concept of transformational leadership, blaming it in lack of ethical backgrounds. The idea that transformational leadership contradicts principles of organizational development is also among their counter arguments. Their opinion is that T-type leaders may not be successful due to their extreme determination and passion, which may mislead them and cause mistakes. In addition, such critics say that T-type leaders may easily manipulate with the activities of the followers, making them make numerous efforts beyond their own interests.

But a number of management specialists, like Bernard Bass or Gill Hickman, see no reason to argue against transformational leadership. They underline that transformational leadership is a universal concept, which effectively works in different organizations and businesses. Besides, T-type leaders are individuals with very high moral and personal values, who always follow principles of freedom, equality and collective welfare. These leaders can solve the hardest and most complex organizational problems, because they are able to re-evaluate individual and collective values, motivate people, transform and restructure the group and lead it to success and achievements.

Transformational Leadership

Posted under Uncategorized on Monday 26 November 2012 at 3:30 am

What is Transformational Leadership?

Transformational Leadership (TL) is a form or a level of leadership in management theory, which exists along with Charismatic, Relational or Transactional Leaderships. Transformational approach to leadership is a concept, connected with ability of a leader to inspire and to challenge the followers, to help them in developing advanced collaborative culture, or to launch various innovations, etc. This type of leadership is probably the most popular one and the most popular type of theory in modern day’s practice of organizational management around the world.

Many experts say that TL should be considered one of the highest levels of leadership. In modern theories it is mostly connected with the ability of a transformational type leader (T-type leader) do determine a special vision and make its meaning clear and totally understandable for the followers. Then, T-type leader should find the way how to achieve the purpose of such vision and encourage the followers to do so.  The main idea is that T-type leader must be ready for any transformations, physical or psychological, personal or collective, etc., to accomplish the mission of the organization or a group, and achieve success.

Being close to the highest level of leadership (Charismatic leadership), TL also means ability of leader to influence on present vision of the followers and to change perception of their personal values. But, especially, it means ability of a T-type leader to connect these personal values of the followers with their collective ones. Unlikely to Charismatic leaders, T-type leaders reach success not because of their faith only in themselves, but because they believe in and count on others.

Transformational LeadershipWhat Are The 4 Components Of Transformational Leadership?

Leadership theory experts define 4 principal component of transformational leadership. Those include:

  • Inspirational Motivation, or the ability of T-type leader inspire and motivate the followers by using their own charisma, certain internal or external factors, etc.
  • Idealized Influence, or being able to serve as a model of an ideal leader, an ideal personality to be followed. This is also a key element of a T-type leader’s charisma.
  • Intellectual Stimulation, or an ability of a T-type leader to challenge his or her followers and make them be creative, innovative, responsive, efficient, etc. It is very important for a T-type leader to constantly make the followers get better and improve their performance.
  • Individualized Consideration, meaning an ability of a T-type leader to show a true and constant concern for their followers, their needs, abilities, success, goals, and so on. According to the transformational leadership theory, this element of one of the most important, and showing personal concern to every follower’s personality is considered one of the most effective elements for stimulating the best performance of the group or organization.

Who Are T-type Leaders?

T-type leaders can be characterized with very well-developed personal qualities, like creativity, openness, strength of mind, integrity, and many others. Principal and important abilities of such leaders are to debate and to persuade. Also, in order to make people believe in their vision, they must be good public speakers and be able to lead constructive dialogs. They should never demand from their followers something that they can not do themselves. Innovation and team creativity should be valued the most by T-type leaders are the essential elements for success.

Besides, such leaders are active, brave and daring; they must take risks and always look for new opportunities. They have to believe in own competence and ability to solve the hardest problems. Also, T-type leaders must know how to increase self-confidence of their followers and stimulate their conviction in future success. An important place in transformation leadership concept belongs to openness of such leaders to innovations and developing of human potential. They should only delegate the tasks for improving their follower’s skills and helping them experience or learn new things.