Transformational Leadership—A Rough Guide to Leadership Models and Theories

Jul 5, 2021 2 min read
Transformational Leadership—A Rough Guide to Leadership Models and Theories

Transformational Leadership is about transforming the business and changing the organization’s culture. Here we define the transforming leader and list 7 characteristics of the transformational leader.

The historian and political scientist, James MacGregor Burns, first coined the term Transformational Leadership in the late 1970s. He used this to distinguish the inspirational leadership style from Transactional Leadership.

Transformational Leadership is about transforming the business and changing the organization’s culture.

In sharp contrast, Transactional Leadership, which takes on a directive leadership style, is essentially concerned with processes and day-to-day operations management.

The Transformational Leader

But the transformational leader is interested both in the individual and the team. They aim to empower people, so they may reach their full potential, improve their skills and abilities, and gain confidence in their unique talents and values.

The consequence of this approach is that their influence increases… more on this later.

So, Transformational Leadership is about the leader connecting with people to inspire positive change.

The transformational leader makes great efforts to understand someone’s abilities, skills and needs, and then offers coaching and mentoring to help them to succeed in their particular situation.

For the team, the transformational leader agrees common values and beliefs, and encourages people to reach shared goals.

Transformational leadership is about creating leadership teams.

Transformational Leadership—A Definition

Perhaps one of the best definitions of Transformational Leadership is by Terry Anderson in his book Transforming Leadership: Equipping Yourself and Coaching Others to Build the Leadership Organization.

Transforming Leadership is vision, planning, communication and creative action which has a positive underlying effect on a group of people around a clear set of values and beliefs, to accomplish a clear set of measurable goals. This transforming approach simultaneously impacts the personal development and corporate productivity of all involved. – Terry D. Anderson
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