Essay on Transformational Leadership : Leadership Theories

Essay on Transformational Leadership : Leadership Theories

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Transformational leadership is among the more recent leadership theories. It focuses on a leaders ability to inspire followers and it does so by focusing on a vision that can change the structures around the organisation. Its objective is clear when you simply look at the word the theory is built around: transform.
But how do you get people to follow a vision? Is transformational change always a good idea?
In this guide, we will hope to answer the above questions and delve deeper into the model of transformational leadership. We’ll start by examining the ideas behind the style, its core elements and the requirements of a transformational leader. We’ll also examine the advantages and disadvantages of the leadership theory and present you with a few examples of true transformational leaders.
1 Understanding the different contexts of transformational leadership

To understand leadership theories, you often have to look at the history of how the model developed. Understand the different ideas that contributed to the growth of the framework can make it easier to comprehend the modern context and use of the framework.
In this section, we’ll examine the different historical texts, which influenced the birth of transformational theory and the ideas these theories added to the framework. We’ll also explore the current theory introduced by Bernard Bass.

The historical context

Although James MacGregor Burns is considered as the father of the transformational leadership theory, James V. Downton first coined the term. In his 1973 book Rebel Leadership: Commitment and Charisma in a Revolutionary Process, he studied the concept of charisma and it’s influence in religious leadership.
But Downton’s work remained rather unnoticed and the concept...

... middle of paper ...

...e and charisma and provide the subordinates a clear idea of the vision or mission ahead. In Bass’ theory, there are three different ways to transform and influence subordinates:

• Enhancing the subordinates’ awareness of the importance and value of the task.
• Instead of focusing on their personal interests, the subordinates should be directed to achieve the operational goals first.
• Activating the subordinates’ higher-order needs.

Interestingly, Bass originally concluded transformational leadership as amoral theory. This meant the vision and charisma of the leader are not always a positive force, but could and have potentially been used harmfully. For example, leadership under Jim Jones could be characterised as transformational even though it wasn’t pleasant for the subordinates. Nonetheless, Bass later changed his views on the matter, after dialogue with Burns.

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