Numerous forms of leadership exist, and all aim at helping achieve the desired goals of the organization. Some of the leading firms are considered more effective than others. There has been a sharp contrast between the two forms of leadership: transformational and transactional. Transformational leadership is considered as the leadership that is the agent of change through inspiration and innovation. Additionally, it is effective but usually complex. On the other hand, transactional leadership is taken as the traditional form of leadership that is of low level. However, ensures organizational stability.
Leadership is driven by the needs of the followers. According to Maslow’s theory, human needs fall into five aspects. These include self-actualization, self-esteem, love, and sense of belonging, safety, and physiological needs. In this respect, leadership styles aim to enhance these needs based on their building dimensions. Transactional leadership is built on contingent rewards. In this case, the leaders maintain the status quo. They intervene where subordinates fail to meet the expected performance levels by initiating corrective measures. Relative to transformational leadership, leadership is based on charisma, providing the vision and mission, as well as installing trust and respect. It also entails individualized consideration and advocates for support to subordinates.
Furthermore, it focuses on inspiration/motivation, enhancing understanding and high expectations of the goals. It also promotes intellectual stimulation, promoting effective innovation, decision making, and problem-solving. According to Northouse (p. 200), the most indicative features of transformational leadership are individualized consideration and inspiration. The achievement of the aforementioned leadership components particularly for transformational leadership requires individuals with certain features. These are creative, interactive, visionary, empowering, and passionate.
Regarding creativity (lateral/divergent thinking), this is the capacity of creating and manipulating symbols such as formulas and drawings among others. Creative leaders enhance innovation through developing new products, ideas, and ways, and rectifying the existing to improve performance. Most notably, they are driven by an urge for change. With this, they are hardworking, persevering, independent, and comfortable with any ambiguity and complexity.
Creativity appears into five blocks including perpetual, emotional, cultural/environmental, and intellectual/expressive blocks. Relative to the interactive feature, a transformational leader should be a great communicator and one who involves him/herself with the followers. Involvement entails regular meetings and supervision of followers. As for the visionary feature, leaders are expected to communicate effectively about the organization’s vision. This helps to create meaning, establish excellence standards, attract followers’ commitment, and bridge the gap between present and future. The vision and mission statement is very specific and entails the spirit of leadership and organization in guiding the followers.
Further to empowering, this involves enhancing the capability and autonomy of followers in the organization’s activities such as decision making. Specifically, empowerment leads to the build-up of trust with followers. Building trust is based on the leader’s competence, openness/honesty, reliability, concern for followers, and identification.
Finally, passionate leaders are more committed and have a competitive advantage. The charismatic dimension of leadership is defined by different approaches. They include the following:
- Sociological – leaders of extraordinary vision and talents
- Psychoanalytic – leaders who are innovative, take risks and stir emotions
- Political – leaders with strong bonds with their followers’
- Behavioral – leaders with high moral standards
- Attribution – leaders demonstrating commitment, expertise, and confidence
- Communication -leaders with excellent communication skills (Northouse, 203).
Besides the key dimensions and features of leadership noted above, various abuses destroy leadership. These are failure of the vision, goals mis-articulations, practices mismanagement, and resource misappropriation.
Northouse, Peter G. Leadership: Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2010. Print.