Transformational Leadership Style

By John Dudovskiy
August 5, 2012

Transformational leadership Sosik and Godshalk (2000) inform that transformational leadership theory has evolved once rapidly intensified level of competition in the global level has revealed serious shortcomings of transactional leadership style. Namely, changing market conditions have necessitated increased level of involvement of employees at all levels for decision making, a well as, the level of motivation of the workforce has become the matter of survival for many industries in the global marketplace.

The main characteristics of transformational leaders are specified by Khanin (2007) as highly receptive of their followers’ needs and wants, as well as, striving for their professional development at various fronts that would result in followers eventually replacing leaders in the future.

Moreover, Walumba and Hartnell (2011) justly attribute high achievement of transformational leaders to their attractive behaviour, charisma, and the ability to motivate their followers. Also, the role of organisational vision that is shared by all members of the workforce is stressed by Garcia-Morales et al (2008), who rightly specify the adoption of transformational leadership as an effective method of motivating workforce through developing and communicating the vision.

The main distinction between transformational and transactional leadership styles can be specified as the ability of the former style to address higher, intangible needs of employees as well as material needs the latter style is mainly associated with. In other words, transformational leaders promote creativity, positive team spirit and challenging working environment, thus achieving increased level of performance through highly motivated workforce.

However transformational leadership style can be time consuming process before they provide positive results, and they also create potential for abuse among certain members of the workforce. Specifically, the elements of sensitivity and gentleness expressed by transformational leaders might be perceived to be signs of weaknesses among specific members of the workforce due to their cultural differences, individual temperament and a range of other reasons.

Regardless of the type of organisation, as well as the nature of its aims and objectives, the level of achievement of the organisational objectives depends on the competence and personality of leaders, as well as the style of leadership organisational leaders adopt. This essay has mainly focused on two leadership styles – transactional and transformational, highlighting the main principles associated with each of these styles.

Transactional leaders expect high performance in exchange to wages and other tangible benefits provided to employees, whereas transformational leaders attempt to appeal to emotional needs of employees taking into account their individual differences in order to motivate them.

In summary it can be stated that organisational leaders should mainly rely on transformational style in order to achieve organisational objectives through highly motivated employees. However, it is also important to note that individual differences among the members of the workforce needs to be taken into account, and thus transactional leadership styles might also be used in relation to specific members of the workforce in an occasional manner, if such a necessity arises due to the nature of the job they perform, or due to the personal characteristics of employees.


  • Daft, RL & Lane, PG. (2007) “The Leadership Experience” Cengage Learning
  • Garcia-Morales, VJ, Llorens-Montes, FJ & Verdu-Jover, AJ, 2008, “The Effects of Transformational Leadership on Organisational Performance through Knowledge and Innovation” British Journal of Management (19), Issue 4, pp. 299 – 319
  • Khanin, D. (2007)”Contrasting Burns and Bass: Does the Transactional-Transformational Paradigm Live Up to Burns’ Philosophy of Transforming Leadership?” Journal of Leadership Studies Volume 1, Issue 3, pp. 7-26
  • Sosik, JJ & Godshalk, VM. (2000) “Leadership Styles, Mentoring Functions Received, and Job-Related Stress: A Conceptual Model and Preliminary Study” Journal of Organisational Behaviour, (21) Issue 4, pp.365 – 390.
  • Walumbwa, FO & Hartnell, CA. (2011) “Understanding Transformational Leadership-Employee Performance Links: The Role of Relational Identification and Self-Efficacy” Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology (13) Issue 1, pp. 153 – 172


Category: Leadership