Everybody has accepted by now that change is unavoidable. But that still implies that change is like death and taxes – it should be postponed as long as possible and no change would be vastly preferable. But in a period of upheaval, such as the one we are living in, change is the norm.
– Peter Drucker
When applied to the context of organisational leadership in relation to business infrastructures, the above quote implies that change management is inevitable and absolutely necessary.
With that being said, the way that every leader deals with change management with regards to their business and company varies according to his or her preferred leadership style.
One such leadership style that is rather popularly associated with the management of change is “transformational leadership”. In this article, we will be sharing more about this particular form of leadership style, why it is important to businesses and how it can be practiced within workspaces.
What Is Transformational Leadership?
The concept of transformational leadership was first coined by leadership expert, James McGregor Burns in 1978. The idea was later further improved upon and adapted by Bernard M. Bass, through his book in 1985.
In today’s world, transformational leadership is a management style in which leaders encourage, inspire and motivate employees to innovate and create change that will help grow and shape the future success of the company.
Goals can be accomplished through transformational leadership by setting an example at the executive level. This will develop a “strong sense of corporate culture, employee ownership and independence within the workplace”.
In order to better understand the concept of transformational leadership, perhaps the most promising source of input would be to take a closer look at the characteristics displayed by transformational leaders.
According to an article published by Verywellmind.com, transformational leaders are different from others as they can naturally take control of the situation by conveying a clear vision of the group’s goals, possess a marked passion for their work, and exude an ability to make the rest of the group feel recharged and energised all at the same time.
These leaders are not only concerned and involved in the process but they are also “focused on helping every member of the group succeed as well”.
Additionally, it has also been stated that transformational leadership heavily depends on the quality of a leader’s charisma as the most important construct of said concept.
Sociologist Maximilian Karl Emil Weber found that “transformational leaders derive their legitimacy through their behaviour and character rather than through a formal position, rules, or tradition” as well.
As such, the above-mentioned factors make up the management style of transformational leadership as we know and practice it today.
Why Is Transformational Leadership Important?
Transformational leadership, like any other management style, has its numerous benefits and importance. This particular leadership style can help organisations with outdated systems that require serious retooling to explore new methods of work management within the office.
This form of leadership style can also allow companies with big dreams to actively strive along and adapt to change so as to “get there” in terms of their goals.
Transformational leaders are important within an organisation, especially during tumultuous times. This is because they can help to stimulate and inspire others to achieve extraordinary outcomes, respond to individual needs by empowering them and aligning the objectives and goals of colleagues, leaders, groups and the organisation all together.
Researchers have found that transformational leadership can have positive effects on the group too.
In an article published for Psychology Today, psychologist and leadership expert Ronald E. Riggio explained that groups which were led by transformational leaders had higher levels of performance and satisfaction than groups led by other types of leaders.
Riggio also attributed part of the success of transformational leadership to the leaders’ efforts when they took the extra effort to focus on and care about colleagues and their needs as well as personal development.
Thus, this gives lead to the point that transformational leadership is important as leaders impart the belief to their colleagues that they can contribute their best efforts, which in turn causes “members of the group to feel inspired and empowered” to deal with change as it comes their way.
As such, these reasons support why transformational leadership is important for leaders, employees and organisations alike as it can benefit every group of people within a workspace.
How Can You Practice Transformational Leadership?
Now that the definitions and importance of transformational leadership have been explored, how exactly can this management style be practiced within an organisation?
Implementing this leadership style within an organisation is as simple as leaders creating an inspiring vision of the future and motivating colleagues to buy into delivering the vision.
Leaders can subsequently move on to manage the delivery of set goals as they continue to build stronger, trust-based relationships with people within their company.
Additionally, leaders can practice transformational leadership by participating in intellectual stimulation with others. Transformational leaders should “not only challenge the status quo, but they should also encourage creativity” among their colleagues.
This will encourage employees to discover new ways to complete projects while also creating new opportunities for everyone to learn from.
One of the key characteristics of transformational leadership is ‘individualised consideration’ which encourages leaders to offer support and encouragement to their colleagues.
Keeping “lines of communication open” so that employees can feel free to share ideas and receive recognition for their contributions are primary examples of this factor as transformational leadership is practiced.
Transformational leaders can also strive to practice this management style through idealised influence as well. This will cause leaders to serve and function as a role model for their co-workers. Employees will naturally attempt to “emulate their leader as he or she internalises their ideals”.
As such, these are some practical strategies that leaders can adopt as they attempt to practice transformational leadership within their workspace.
In conclusion, transformational leadership is highly likely to make a comeback as we deal with the changes that have already displaced many individuals from all over the world.
With its promising benefits of inspiring and motivating employees to work together in order to successfully achieve organisational goals and having higher levels of performance as well as satisfaction rates, transformational leadership is a sure win strategy that organisations can adopt.
While this management style may work for some leaders and organisations, it may not be the perfect solution that your company or colleagues are in need of.
With that being said, a great leader can always adopt useful strategies and learning points from transformational leadership if it promises to benefit their workplace too.
All in all, it is crucial to keep an open mind in order to improve your own leadership skills, especially to lead their organisations and fellow colleagues through such a time of crisis.
StrengthsAsia has helped many individual and corporate clients all throughout the region in empowering leaders by enabling breakthrough experiences for both leaders and followers. If you want to learn more about our StrengthsFinder Leadership Development or StrengthsFinder Team Building Program, feel free to reach out to us here.