Style Approach in Leadership Term Paper

Pages: 6 (1784 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Leadership

¶ … Leadership

Evaluating the Transformational System of Leadership

The essence of transformational leadership is the ability to provide an organization with a very clear sense of purpose, a challenging goal or vision to attain, and give each person involved a clear sense of purpose. A truly transformational leader has the ability to transform not only the people in an organization but the culture itself, unleashing higher levels of creativity and commitment than had been possible in the past (Cheung, Wong, 2011. p. 656). The characteristics of transformational leaders and who they relate to each other is the subject of this analysis. The implications for emergency service oversight from a transformational leadership perspective is also discussed. A transformational leader is also invaluable during times of exceptional uncertainty and economic turbulence as they provide employees with valuable context of their contributions in organizations. Not only can a transformational leader change people, over time they can revolutionize a culture, as Steve Jobs is now famous for doing at Apple Computer for example. Steve Jobs also showed that transformational leaders do not necessarily need to be liked by everyone, just respected. His methods at Apple, now being shared through many news reports, show a transformational leader who refused to comprise on his core beliefs and values over time

Analyzing the Characteristics of Transformational Leaders

The core characteristics of transformational leaders center on four major elements which when interlinked provide the foundation for effective transformational leadership. These four foundational aspects of leadership also serve to be the foundation for how leadership behaviors relate to and support each other over time (Rowold, 2011, 629, 630). Transformational leaders also exhibit an innate ability to interpret and respond quickly and appropriately to challenging and complex social situations as well, which is the trait of Emotional Intelligence (EI), a key aspect of the most successful leaders across industries (Cheung, Wong, 2011, 658). Predicated on EI, the four key elements of transformational leadership become the catalyst of organizational growth and the development of individual strengths of subordinates. It is not surprising that subordinates have fierce, unquestioned loyalty to those transformational leaders who believe in them and engender trust in teams. For many employees the trust they have in a transformational leader means more to them than more salary they could potentially receive working at other companies (Gregory, Moates, Gregory, 2011, pp. 808, 809).

The four elements of transformational leadership are individualized consideration, intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation, and idealized influence. These four core tenants of transformational leadership are seen as the foundational building blocks of what energizes and directs the behavior of leaders, enabling them to attain remarkable results in a short period of time. It is also noteworthy that leaders who may be transactional or trait-based in their approach will miss having one of these elements, and fail at bringing about significant change in their organizations (Gregory, Moates, Gregory, 2011, p, 810). The balance of these four elements I therefore crucial for a transformational leader to achieve the full potential they have to bring positive change to an organization and make a lasting, memorable and positive impact on the professional lives of their subordinates.

The first element of individualized consideration within transformational leadership is the empathetic dimension that focuses on a leader being a mentor or coach to their subordinates. This is also the dimension where leaders connect with and support their subordinates throughout communication and guidance on self-development and growth. Many consider this dimension to be the most critical for creating trust and honesty that in turn enables even greater accomplishment and accelerates achievement (Gregory, Moates, Gregory, 2011, p. 812). Studies of transformational leadership have shown through empirical analysis that trust is an accelerator of communication, and therefore result in a consistently high level of momentum in an organizational culture (Cheung, Wong, 2011, p. 671). Conversely, a lack of trust is a decelerator, slowing a business down to a crawl, making many cultures dark, sarcastic places that only the inner circle understand or even care about. It is the responsibility of any transformational leader to overcome these inherent challenges in a culture and infuse it with enough empathy and trust to make the organization a place employees willingly go above and beyond for, not just for the pay but for the accomplishment, achievement and recognition. Individualized consideration as the first construct of transformational leadership specifically focuses on this area of the aligning rewards and incentives to what the subordinate values, not just thinking money alone is the answer to greater motivation. In fact there are studies that suggest the opposite is true, as Dan Pink discusses often in his book, Drive, an excellent study of human motivation. Transformational leaders are plugged into this way of thinking, they excel at understanding what really motivates people and help their subordinates and teams visualize not only what the company will be like after a major success -- they help the subordinates see who they will be too. Individualized consideration is a skill set that can transform a company over time, especially if a transformational leader stay consistent and generates trust by being authenticity and real, keeping their commitments over time to their subordinates (Northouse, 2009, pp. 172, 173).

The second element of intellectual stimulation is nurtured by transformational leaders who allow for questions, comments, even debate an disagreement without shutting down their staffs or teams in the process. This takes an exceptional level of self-confidence and security on the part of the leader, and not all managers can handle it (Cheung, Wong, 2011, pp. 671, 672). Yet transformational leaders who have a relatively high EI level are capable of dealing with the dissension and lack of absolute conformity to their views of the world, and seek debate as a means to bring greater knowledge generation and learning into their organizations (Rowold, 2011, p. 645, 646). Intellectual stimulation as a catalyst of creativity is another aspect of their leadership style, as it allows them to concentrate more on the approach to solving problems from a collaborative standpoint, not always acting as if they are "right." A truly transformational leader will see debates as a way to find the best approach to solve a complex problem, and an opportunity for subordinates and his team to see the value in the solution arrived at (Cheung, Wong, 2011, pp. 671, 672). Intellectual stimulation also applies to those transformational leaders who take the time to development individualized learning plans for employees, giving them the opportunity to learn and grow while fulfilling their roles in an organization. This type of commitment to intellectual stimulation has the potential to create exceptional levels long-term loyalty and commitment on the part of subordinates and team members.

The third element of transformational leadership is the ability to create and sustain inspirational motivation over time. The transformational leaders who excel at this task are those that have a deeply held, passionate vision they are willing to go to great lengths to achieve, and naturally inspire others with their complete commitment and ability to articulate their vision. The best transformational leaders sustain inspirational motivation through a wide variety of behaviors, and can quickly create excitement, enthusiasm and total commitment for a task by showing how they are also willing to sacrifice to get it done (Gregory, Moates, Gregory, 2011, p. 814). A transformational leader can also create a level of commitment and passion for goals by showing each subordinate exactly where they fit into the broader scope of activity. Everyone person on a transformational leaders' team understands exactly what their value is and why they are there, and what is expected of them (Gregory, Moates, Gregory, 2011, pp. 810, 811). The behaviors that transformational leaders rely on to create excitement around goals also include showing how corporate-wide results were made possible by the individual contributions of employees. This works exceptionally well to create tasks ownership and further create long-term commitment for a goal or vision.

The fourth element of transformational leadership is idealized influence and is based on the leaders' approach to creating and sustaining a very high ethical level of conduct and performance over time. This is where authenticity, transparency and trust are critically important. For a leader to create a high level of trust they need to be consistent over time and show that their words align with and support their actions, as employees, in these skeptical times, look for the disconnect between these two often (Gregory, Moates, Gregory, 2011, p. 816). The need for managing the credibility a staff gives a manager and growing it into trust is essential if a team is going to become cohesive and grow over time. Only by being authentic, transparent and trustworthy will a leader be able to ask for and get progressing more support from their teams -- without these attributes any manager will be destined to mediocre performance as their teams fail to respond to any externally- based motivator including money or easily given incentives that don't really align to their specific… [END OF PREVIEW]

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