Have you ever been in a group where someone took control of the situation by conveying a clear vision of the group's goals, a marked passion for the work and an ability to make the rest of the group feel recharged and energized? This person just might be what is called a transformational leader.
Transformational leadership is a type of leadership style that leads to positive changes in those who follow. Transformational leaders are generally energetic, enthusiastic and passionate. Not only are these leaders concerned and involved in the process; they are also focused on helping every member of the group succeed as well.
The History of Transformational Leadership
The concept of transformational leadership was initially introduced by leadership expert and presidential biographer James MacGregor Burns. According to Burns, transformational leadership can be seen when "leaders and followers make each other to advance to a higher level of moral and motivation." Through the strength of their vision and personality, transformational leaders are able to inspire followers to change expectations, perceptions and motivations to work towards common goals.
Later, researcher Bernard M. Bass expanded upon Burns original ideas to develop what is today referred to as Bass? Transformational Leadership Theory. According to Bass, transformational leadership can be defined based on the impact that it has on followers. Transformational leaders, Bass suggested, garner trust, respect and admiration from their followers.
The Components of Transformational Leadership
Bass also suggested that there were four different components of transformational leadership.
Intellectual Stimulation ? Transformational leaders not only challenge the status quo; they also encourage creativity among followers. The leader encourages followers to explore new ways of doing things and new opportunities to learn.
Individualized Consideration ? Transformational leadership also involves offering support and encouragement to individual followers. In order to foster supportive relationships, transformational leaders keep lines of communication open so that followers feel free to share ideas and so that leaders can offer direct recognition of each followers unique contributions.
Inspirational Motivation ? Transformational leaders have a clear vision that they are able to articulate to followers. These leaders are also able to help followers experience the same passion and motivation to fulfill these goals.
- Idealized Influence ? The transformational leader serves as a role model for followers. Because followers trust and respect the leader, they emulate this individual and internalize his or her ideals.
1 Burns, J.M. (1978). Leadership. N.Y: Harper and Raw.
2 Bass,B. M,(1985). Leadership and Performance. N. Y,: Free Press.
3 Riggio, R.E. (2009, March 24). Are you a transformational leader. Psychology Today. Found online at http://blogs.psychologytoday.com/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/200903/are-you-transformational-leader