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The art of motivating a group of people towards the achievement of a common goal is leadership. It's a process of causing an influence on people. Social influence of one person having the qualities to lead can get the aid and support of others in the society.
One of the most discussed topic in social sciences is leadership (Avolio, Sosik, Jung, & Berson, 2003; Bass, 1990; Bennis, 2007) Different scholars have given different definitions of leadership.
Alan Keith of Genentech states leadership as a way towards the accomplishment of something extraordinary. According to Ken "SKC" Ogbonnia, leadership is the way by which individual efforts integrated towards the fulfillment of a task within the limited resources in an effective and efficient way to achieve the organizational goals.
Freud lothans says"An influencing process in which one person tends to influence and modify the behavior or a group or majority." Paul levy states "A social process through which an individual intentionally exerts influence over others to structure their behavior."
Cooper defines leadership as" An interactive process where one individual tends to influence or modify the behavior of the majority, make individuals collectively work for a mutual goal."
Many leadership theories have been evolved over the period of time. The bases of these theories differ. The main bases of these theories are traits, behavior, transformation and charisma. Latest researches conducted on leadership gave birth to new leadership theories. New models as variations to the existing models were presented by the leadership gurus in the recent past. Most important names in the development of transformational leadership theory are MacGregor Burns, Max Weber, , Bernard M.Bass, Nanus and Warren Bennis.
In order to better understand the transformational theory, the difference between the transformational and transactional leadership must be understood.
Eric Berne was the first one to conduct a transactional analysis of the relationship existing between a leader and a group. Transactional analysis is an integrative approach which has elements of humanist, psychoanalytic, and cognitive studies.
According to Burn, a transactional leader is one who has power to punish and reward his team as per their performance. A predetermined task is to be fulfilled in exchange of some other benefit. The leader has the power to evaluate the performance of the subordinates. He allocates the tasks to the. It's the leader's discretion to punish or reward someone. The leader recognized the need of correction and training from the performance of subordinates. He provides training when the productivity is not up to the mark and needs a boost. The recognition of the effectiveness of the work performed by the subordinates is also done by the leader and he rewards them (Burn, 1978).
A process of give and take works here. The leader gives rewards to the subordinates for their negative performance and punishes for negative performance. While the subordinates give input and receive rewards and punishment as per the level of their input.
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A transformational leader on the other hand motivates his team to work effectively and efficiently. Communication is essence of transformational leadership style. The final goal is achieved by a continuous communicated effort. The chain of command is used by the leader to attain the desired outcome. The visibility of leader is very high. A bigger picture remains the point of focus of a transformational leader. He thinks in a wider perspective and other people around him take care of the minor details. Such leader works towards implementing those ideas which help in the achievement of the company's vision i-e a bigger picture.
As elaborated by Bass the transactional leaders is concerned with the work within the organizational culture as it exists while the transformational leader attempts to changes the organizational culture".
The transactional leader has the following attributes:
§ The link existing between the effort and reward is known to the leader. There occurs an exchange or bargain process between the leader and the followers. It is a transaction between a leader and his followers.
§ The leader posses something of value which the follower wants to have in exchange of his compliance with the goals.
§ It's a reactive or responsive leadership style.
§ The leader is aimed at dealing with what is happening now and he is present-oriented. Responsive is the most important attribute of a transactional leader.
§ Such leaders adopt a standardized way of evaluation of the performance of subordinates. They give standard rewards, sanctions, punishments and inducements.
§ It is a system of bargain and the strength of leadership is contingent upon the leader's power in this process of bargain. If the leader has power to reinforce his conditions and standards f complying with the predetermined goals, he will accomplish the final goal and will succeed.
On the other hand, a transformational leader has the following attributes;
§ It is not merely an exchange process. The leader arouses emotions within his followers which motivate him to do beyond the predefined framework. There may also exist an exchange relationship but the followers are intrigued towards the achievement of something beyond that framework.
§ Transformational leadership is a proactive approach rather than reactive. New expectations are put forth the followers.
§ Leaders focus on learning rather than standard framework. They adopt every possible way to help their followers learn and improve themselves. Learning opportunities are arranged and provided to the followers.
§ Such leaders have strong visionary and managerial skills.
§ Such leaders prompt their followers to work for the attainment of the organization's goals going beyond self-interest.
§ Different leaders have different power of influencing others. This ability to inspire differs. The ability to provide, intellectual stimulation, idealized influence and individualized consideration differs greatly from leader to leader.
§ Such leaders have the ability to develop emotional bonds with their followers. This bonding intrigues them to follow him.
How leadership influence the attainment of goals?
Leadership is the direction which directs the subordinates or employees to direct their efforts in a certain direction. Employees have two spheres of influence.
One influence is their personal values and perception and the other is the societal or the organizational influence. The personal values are a product of society indeed. When an employee works in an organization, he has to work in compliance with the work standards as directed by the management. He works to get benefited monetarily or in the form of such other benefit. His personal ideology must match with the organizational goal he is pursuing. It will inculcate the spirit of ownership of the organization and eliminate self-interest from the minds of employees.
So, it is the leadership which serves as a guiding star. A leader is the most influential person because he has the ability to mould the situation by an effective use of the leadership styles. It is the type of situation which defines which leadership style must be used.
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If the nature of work is highly straightforward, the transactional model succeeds most of the times. But if more employees' personal engagement is required, then the leader must modify his attitude from bossy one to engaging one. The employees must be listened and the style for making decisions affecting employees must be participative.
Which is the best style?
Both the transactional and translational leadership styles are effective depending upon the situation. No one style can be declared the best. In fact, as pointed out by Burns, there exists a relationship between these two leadership styles. The transformational leadership style augments the transactional leadership style. It does not replace the later (Walsman, Bass, & Yammarino, 1990). At all levels, transaction continues to be an effective and necessary tool. A transformational leader chooses to gain the agreement of the followers by appealing to their values. It doesn't happen a simple task to appeal to the values of the followers very easily. When a transformational leader finds no way out to transform the followers and stimulate them beyond their self-interest, he has to revert back to the transactional style. A transformational leader tries to convert his win-lose situation into win-win situation by influencing his followers but it the road seems to be blocked, he displays his transactional skills like a good negotiator (Walsman, Bass, & Yammarino, 1990).
It is true that transactional style is the most adopted style but the results produced by this style are not as high as produced by transformational style.
All the literature and the personal experiences of the researchers agree that human beings can not be treated like animals. People can not be herded blindly from one place to another like sheep. They need to be treated differently in order to be effective now and in the coming days. They have emotions which need to be respected and taken care. They have expertise and knowledge which need to be acknowledged. They have intuition and ideas which needs to be encouraged and valued. Their experiences must be utilized to get benefit from them.
Avolio finds out that most of the organizational leaders have agreed upon the fact that their originations need to move away from encouraging their employees to leave their brains at the door, rather they should develop such systems in the organization which nurtures and develops the intellectual capital of employees and reward them in a more direct way. Every one must be valued.
The most prevalent system is the transaction system or model. People are paid a salary in return to the work they perform. The necessary condition for the success of the transformational leadership style is that both the leader and the follower must possess, understand and share the same culture and values.
As is observed in the air force, the trainings and education given to the sergeants teach them core values of the profession. They are encouraged to participate in conformance with the moral and ethical standards of the organization. The core values serve as a point to start. Every body gets direction from these starting points I-e core values.
It becomes understood for all the employees that what behavior is acceptable and which is not acceptable. Such core values serve as beacons to vector people towards the path of professional conduct.
These value internalize the human beings and become apart of their personality. The conscious and unconscious attitudes and behavior are the by product of such internally embedded values. They begin expressing themselves by relating themselves to those values. Those who hold such value will be following the dictates of these core values. They follow them even in the absence of rewards, incentives, sanctions or punishments.
In the transformational leadership, the organization needs to fuse the vision of leader so strongly in the followers, that high moral and ethical principles motivate both of them. This process of fusion of vision raises the followers above the level of self-interest and they become ready to sacrifice for the good of the organization as a whole.
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It is necessary to build a bond between the leader and the followers. The question is how this bond is developed? Four components of Bernard Bass are highly important in this regard.
Transformational model is more influential in the long term because it empowers the ideology of people and lets them change their values in support of the bigger organizational goals.
For the successful implementation of transformational leadership theory, a strong trust needs to be developed between the leader and the follower. High moral and ethical standards are set by the idealized influence of the charisma of the transformational leader. An everlasting trust builds a strong relationship.
The transformational leadership provides the followers with a meaning to change and adopt. Challenges are given to the followers to learn and understand to engage in the common goals. The leaders influence to appeal to the followers in a certain direction provides the push to act or perform in a certain way. It is the inspirational motivation which causes this impetus to impact.
Transformational leadership promotes intellectual stimulation. Individual participation is appreciated. People are encouraged to question and generate creative solutions to certain problems. It is the vision of the leader which connects the leader with his followers through a framework. The leader, the followers, the organization, and its goal, everything is linked with each other towards the achievement of organizational goals. When the followers know the bigger picture and are empowered, they can easily overcome the obstacles coming on the way to achieve that bigger goal.
In transformational leadership style, the leader interacts with each individual employee. He considers the individual needs of coaching, mentoring and growth of each employee and provides the opportunities to them. It is aimed at individual consideration.
This approach towards leadership is highly commendable because it educates the leaders of next generation. Every individual has needs for self-actualization and self-fulfillment. These needs are fulfilled by this leadership approach. The employees feel their self-worth which enhances their self-esteem and motivation. Their commitment to the organization and the leader is strengthened and deepened. This approach propels the employees to further growth and achievement.
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Most of the times, we perceive that the decision making style in transformational leadership is participative. But there arises many such circumstances when participation is not possible. In such situations when there is no time to influence others attitudes because of time pressure and the sensitivity of the decision to be made. In such situations, directive style of leadership is more effective to bring change. Certainly a time and place setting is required to listen to each other and influence each other. In such emergency situations, directive style is more acceptable and appropriate.
Once planning has been done with the participation of the followers, it's the sole discretion of the leader whether he implements that or not. He can either attempt to implement what is planned with mutual consent or he can direct the operation as per his own will.
However, there is a potentially unethical or immoral side of the transformational leadership too. If the leader is unscrupulous and the followers are unsuspecting and naïve, he can exploit the situation as per his decision. Bass and Steidlmeier said in their "Ethics, Character and Authentic Transformational Leadership,"
"Fundamentally, the authentic transformational leader must forge a path of congruence of values and interests among stake holders, while avoiding the pseudo-transformational land mines of deceit, manipulation, self-aggrandizement and power abuse."
There is another warning given by Bass and Steidlmeier "Transformational leadership is seen as immoral in the manner that it moves members to sacrifice their own life plans for the sake of the organization's needs. There is no moral justification for the vision of the CEO becoming the future sought by the employees."
This warning can be overcome if the leader has an agenda of uplifting. Burn rightly said that the level of ethical aspiration and human conduct of both the leader and the led is raised by transformational leadership. This makes this leadership a moral consideration. Transformational leadership is double-edged and has a dark side but high moral values as of the leader and the led can mitigate the dark side. As a result, the good champions not the evil or bad.
Kottler describes leadership as a change agent. This is the ultimate goal of leadership to bring an incremental change. Leadership is nurtured by appealing to the followers. Followers are appealed by satisfying their basic human needs i-e achievement, recognition, a sense of belongingness, the ability to live up to one's ideals, and a feeling of control over one's life. Leadership works hand in hand with the management to meet the desired goals.
Validity and predictability of leadership theories
An authentic transformational leader builds a bond of genuine trust between the leader and the led. A continuous commitment, modeling and enforcement are required to keep the system working. If this commitment, modeling and enforcement are absent, the standards of business ethics will not and can not be realized. Badly led businesses have to wind up doing immoral or unethical things. Terminal values like integrity and fairness are concentrated by transformational leaders. They feel themselves responsible for the development of their organization and the impact of that development on the society at large.
Transformational leaders increase the awareness of their followers about the right, the good and the beautiful. In this way, the needs of the followers are elevated for self-actualization and achievement. High moral maturity is fostered in the followers and they are moved to go beyond their self interests. They think in a bigger perspective, keeping the good of their group, organization and the society as a whole.
A true transformational leader seeks the maximum good for the greatest number. He attempts to set an example for his followers. Accurate and valid communication is encouraged in the followers. This style is morally justified because the efforts of the leader are aimed at achieving the value-concurrence between the leader and the followers. When value congruence is achieved, both the leader and the led are more satisfied and motivated (Meglino, Ravlin & Adkins, 1989).
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Due to this value-congruence, the followers see their leaders as more competent, successful and considerate. This feeling give more satisfaction and they feel contented about their jobs (Weiss, 1978). In transformistic organizations, leadership and followership are predicted less on the basis of positional authority. Independent work relationships aiming towards a common purpose become the source of prediction of leadership and followership.
As Kelly (1995) indicated leadership and followership to be equal but different activities. These activities are played by the same people at different points in time. Effective leader have distinguished capacity of strong commitment, self-management and courage. When organizational employees are empowers to act as valuable leaders and followers depending upon the core values and an amalgamated purpose, the outcomes and advances of the employees greatly enhance. The internalized vision of the transformational leaders helps him to make sound judgments and act appropriately.
It is concluded that the leaders have high ethical and moral values and they express genuine concern and interest in their employees. They strive to know them and understand their needs. Transformational leaders having an inspirational vision to see their organization successful, build a relationship of strong trust with the employees. The vision and values of the leader are equally shared by the subordinates. They are intrigued to work beyond their self-interest and for the common good. They agree to sacrifice their own interests because they have a sense of belongingness with the organization.
When many brains ponder on a specific issue because of participatory style of decision making, innovative ideas are produced. Due to innovative thinking, an innovative action is expected to be taken. Subordinates in this situation are highly motivated and zealous for doing the right things for the organization's success. Leaders listen to their followers and act as mentors. Employees can freely discuss their matter of concern and no misunderstanding occurs because the communication is open and free. The leaders feel for their employees and develop a connection with them by having a real concern for them. Due to struggle for the common betterment, the pseudo-transformational tendencies of actual transformational leadership are short-circuited. The merits of transformational leadership speak for itself. Great things can happen when transformational leaders are connected with their subordinates.
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When transformational leadership provides a vision, the followers understand the direction and the target. Both of them are on the same strategic page. When a match or synchronization of values between the leader and the led has occurred, there will be no need to supervise the followers for their work. The reason is that they know what to do in which situation.
Transformational leadership in contrast to other leadership theories involves gathering people behind a vision or a dream of something which as yet has been out of reach. Though the behavior of human beings can not be predicted accurately, these human devised theories help to predict the behavior. When people are welcomed to participate, a visionary leader can predict that what will be the behavior of that worker towards the work. The coaching style adopted in transformational leadership is highly effective in one-on-one counseling of the subordinates.
However, the charismatic leadership in transformational style can impart devotion among the workers. They may become over dependent but if the leader has the capabilities to mitigate the flaws as and when they occur, the behavior of employees is very certain.
No doubt that short term incentives appeal every individual but their attraction soon fades away. In my point of view, both the transactional and transformational leadership should go hand in hand. The reason is that overdependence on one approach can prove to be fatal. When the organization and the employees become over dependent on the leader, it may become difficult to survive in the absence of that leadership. If there occurs a change in vision or the leadership, it may cause the system to collapse.
It is the responsibility of effective leaders to plan and schedule work i-e task-oriented behaviors and provide support and help to their followers i-e relational-oriented behaviors. They should also encourage and facilitate the process of change i-e change-oriented behaviors. Both the dimensions must be covered. Those leaders who just focus on one aspect predict one dimension and don not understand the importance of the other. Transformational leadership spans across both the change-oriented behaviors and the relational behaviors. It is a strong predictor of the change across the board. In order to implement transformational leadership in the organization, the organizations should design and implement development programs to cover all the dimensions of the leader's behavior. The leaders should set standards for their followers to follow.
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The applicability of the theory depends upon the strength of the leader to set ethical and moral standards and stimulate his employees to adopt those standards for the common good. The respect bestowed to others in the transformational leadership is a token of hope that the employees will return trust and respect in return of it. So, according to me the leadership should be so dynamic to implement both the approaches that the leadership style should be situation-based. The focus must be towards long term success of the organization and the long term profitability. When the employees will be committed with the organization, they will work productively and accomplish the tasks as if their own personal goals. Physical needs lead one's actions to an extent but where the boundaries of materialism end the boundaries of moral and emotional context start. Transformational and transactional leadership theories can predict the possible output and the behavior of employees. But the strong leadership is the guiding star.