Transformational leadership is one of the crucial business concepts. It means a productive process aimed at solving tasks and reorganizing the company. What are the qualities of transformational leaders? Where to find them? Let’s examine these issues together with Artem Bogdashin, an expert in organizational changes and the founder of ALTER. Business.
Leadership types and styles
There are several kinds of team management, which can be applied depending on the organization and its objectives. One can use combinations of several types appropriate to a certain situation.
Bureaucratic leadership. Strict adherence to the rules and instructions. It is suitable in case of particular risks, for instance, at manufacturing sites with toxic substances or in life threatening conditions. It is efficient to control routine and monotonous work.
Charismatic leadership. A strong and active leader inspires and motivates the team. The organization has a clear hierarchy while the leader is self-centered, focusing on his or her achievements and ambitions. Such a management approach can be useful in critical situations when one should think fast and take on responsibilities.
Servant leader. It is a role model creating solid corporate relations and enhancing employees’ morale. Servant leadership does not imply an official recognition but establishes some valuables and ethical principles. This technique is inefficient in extreme and short deadline cases.
Transactional leadership. A well-defined structure, hierarchy, indisputable subordination to a leader, as well as incentives and penalties. Team members are motivated by the material remuneration and a rational approach. Their actions are severely regulated. It is a down-to-earth leadership style applied by the majority of companies, but this method is fruitless in situations requiring flexibility and creativity.
Transformational leadership based on a comprehensive approach and emotional intelligence is considered the best style for businesses.
“Transformational leaders are required in any business and all sectors because of the age of global and local changes. If a company desires to advance in the modern world, it will have to implement a range of transformations and constantly explore better development solutions regardless of its focus area,” Artem Bogdashin believes.
Transformational leadership concept
The term ‘transformational leadership’ appeared in 1978. In several years, this idea was elaborated and described in detail by Bernard M. Bass in his book “Leadership and Performance Beyond Expectations”. According to the author, this management process involves leaders and their followers motivating each other and encouraging mutual development.
“The global problem of up-to-date businesses is the fact that the majority of transformation projects are failure and inefficient,” the expert shares his opinion, “Therefore, a transformational leader is a hero of our time. They are able to lead people through the VUCA world within constant instability. They can pose and meet challenges as well as design a new reality. These people are able to make the reformation process user-friendly and entertaining.”
The transformational leadership style differs from the transactional one that hands out roles, structures obligations, rewards and punishes. Transformational leadership is based on mutual commitments and staff encouragement. Such leaders try to spark personnel’s interest in advancement, give them to understand corporate problems and engage in solving significant matters.
Transformational leadership characteristics:
an integrity and fairness pattern;
staff involvement in the company growth process;
motivation and emotional impact on employees;
support of workers and appreciation of their merits;
personal development and professional progress for everybody.
To achieve similar results, transformational leaders take various approaches, establish contacts with people, listen to their views and consider demands.
“Transformational leaders should act mindfully and bear liability for all of their deeds. They will find useful target setting skills as well as the ability to clarify the situation, focus on relevant aspects and seamlessly build an action discipline, increasing the outcome when performing tasks. Another important step is the creation of a supportive environment for succeeding and training,” Artem comments.
Transformational leadership features
Transformational leadership means an individual approach to everyone, personal motivation and personnel development. At the same time, leaders should take into account staff interests, goals and aims:
consider workers’ needs;
provide them with interesting tasks;
delegate duties to provide professional growth.
Moreover, they should pay attention to the improvement of employees’ thinking and inspire them to take a creative approach and push the boundaries. It allows both team members and the company in general to evolve. Depending on the situation and organization, transformational leadership should be accompanied by such transactional elements as main managerial skills and the reputation of a charismatic leader.
“They can see the difference between previous and future patterns, prospects and expected results. Transformational leaders should be able to talk openly about the existing challenges, identify them boldly and work with limited resources. Such individuals should be brave, should never give up and should not be afraid of mistakes, as they move into the unknown.”
Transformational leaders form an organizational culture promoting the adoption of innovations and positive changes. Their core tools include communication skills allowing to interact with employees and form trust relations with them.
These leaders can boast strategic thinking and the ability to recognize a problem until its emergence. They are multifaceted personalities with high emotional intelligence. Transformational leaders incentivize workers to advance, take a close look at corporate affairs and show initiative. This management style is essential to organizations desiring to keep up with the times, monitor key market changes and adopt innovations.
“I believe that detecting such a leader is an easy task because they always think of the future as well as are full of energy and ideas. Such people should be provided with the possibility to study change management and produce brilliant ideas. In general, leadership is a talent that can be developed and enhanced,” Artem summarizes.
The expert will be a moderator of the panel discussion titled ‘Building a perfect working office’ at w2 conference Moscow on April 28. Its participants will examine various styles of team management and their features.