Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is another leadership orientation at the higher range of Bass’s full range of leadership. The transformational leader’s role is to influence and elevate the attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and values beyond the individual self-interests of those they are leading and to create moral agents among these followers in the organization . Similar to the transactional leader, the transformational leader also initiates contact with followers based upon the leader’s personal values and beliefs; however, the contact does not involve an exchange of valued commodities motivated by self-interests. The transformational leader “asks followers to transcend their own self-interests for the good of the group, organization, or society” (Bass, 1990, p. 53).

In addition to leading others, the transformational leader improves the values and priorities of others and views improvement as part of the leadership goal. The transformational leader motivates followers to commit to and realize performance outcomes that exceed their own expectations. According to Bass (1990), transformational leaders have four distinguishing characteristics (the four I’s): (i)dealized influence (charisma), (i)nspirational motivation, (i)ntellectual stimulation, and (i)ndividualized consideration.

Banerji and Krishnan (2000) claimed charisma as the most important component of transformational leadership. Self-confidence, the ability to be enthusiastic about everyday assignments, and the ability to see and translate the vision of the organization to followers are all key to the charismatic leader.
Inspirational motivation by leadership involves setting goals followers want to obtain by communicating purpose and rationale and by envisioning a successful future. Intellectual stimulation by leadership involves leaders encouraging followers to think of problems in new and innovative ways. Individualized consideration by leadership involves leaders demonstrating respect to all followers and giving personal attention to each follower according to the follower’s needs. A leader’s individualized consideration is demonstrated through interpersonal feedback, development of individuals within the organization, and quick, concise communication throughout the organization.

Some leadership theorists assert that the local church pastor’s transformational leadership style should be evidenced by the increasing maturity in the lives of the people in the pastors congregation and sphere of influence.

Works Cited:
Banerji, P., & Krishnan, V. (2000). Ethical principles of transformational leaders: An empirical investigation. Leadership & Organizational Development Journal, 21(8), 405-413.
Bass, B. M. (1990). Bass & Stodgill’s handbook of leadership: Theory, research, and managerial applications (3rd ed.). New York: The Free Press.
Bass, B. M. (1999). Two decades of research and development in transformational leadership. European Journal of Work & Organizational Psychology, 8(1), 9-34.
Bass, B. M., & Avolio, B. J. (2004). The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (Form 5X). Palo Alto, CA: Mind Garden, Inc.
Conger, J. A. (1999, Summer). Charismatic and transformational leadership in organizations: An insider’s perspective on these developing streams of research. Leadership Quarterly, 10(2), 145-170.
Cooper, M. (2005, Spring). The transformational leadership of the Apostle Paul: A contextual and biblical leadership for contemporary ministry. Christian Educational Journal, 2(1), 48-61.
Humphreys, H., & Einstein, W. O. (2003). Nothing new under the sun: Transformational leadership from a historical perspective. Management Decision, 41(1/2), 85-95.
Kark, R., Shamir, B., & Chen, G. (2003). The two faces of transformational leadership: Empowerment and dependency. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(2), 246-255. Retrieved August 16, 2006.

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  1. When it comes to transformational leadership we need to redefine charisma. When you first read that word you think of someone who is slick and able to move in and out of situations being larger than life. However, what I see charisma being, and what Bass & Avolio would say is the combination of the first two I’s (Inspirational Motivation & Idealized Influence).
    Thanks for a great post regarding TL. I can never get enough of it!

  2. “Transformational Leadership” is a powerful thought-word in itself. Love the idea of transcending self-interest and limited view for a larger, collaborative vision and impact–thanks for sharing!

  3. Nice one! If I could write like this I would be well chuffed. The more I read articles of such quality as this (which is rare), the more I think there could be a future for the Web. Keep it up, as it were.

  4. Son,

    Thank you for comments. (I had to go find out what “well chuffed” means, but now I get it!)

    I look forward to your future remarks.



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