The Transformational Leadership Theory

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Transformational leadership theory has captured the interest of many researchers in the field of organizational leadership over the past three decades. Transformational leadership theory was developed in the late 20th century by Burns (1978) in his analysis of political leaders. Prior to this time much attention had been given to the examination of the approaches of leaders who successfully transformed organizations. Burns characterized transformational leadership as that which “occurs when one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality” (p. 20). He believed that transformational leadership could raise followers from a lower level to a higher level…show more content…
The leader’s ability to inspire, motivate, and foster commitment to a shared purpose is crucial (Bass, Waldman et al., 1987). Transformational leaders seek new ways of working, seek opportunities in the face of risk, prefer effective answers to efficient answers, and are less likely to support the status quo. Transformational leaders do not merely react to environmental circumstances; they attempt to shape and create them (Avolio and Bass, 1988). Transformational leaders may use transactional strategies when appropriate, but they also tend to utilize symbolism and imagery to solicit increased effort. The leader accomplishes this by raising the level of intellectual awareness about the importance of valued outcomes, by raising or expanding individual needs, and by inducing a belief in transcending self-interest for the sake of the team or organization (Bass,…show more content…
In addition, charisma underlines the provision of a common vision and sense of mission necessary for the transformation. Leaders employ inspiration through symbols to redirect followers’ efforts; they express in a simplistic manner the fundamental purpose of the transformation process, and clearly communicate the accompanying higher expectations. Leaders also intellectually stimulate employees by emphasizing rationality and creativity in problem-solving situations. Finally, through individualized consideration, employees are given personal attention and, whenever necessary, they provide coaching and advise to those employees (Warrilow,
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