Transformational leadership is defined as a leadership approach that causes change in individuals and social
systems. In its ideal form, it creates valuable and positive change in the followers with the end goal of developing
followers into leaders. Enacted in its authentic form, transformational leadership enhances the motivation, morale
and performance of followers through a variety of mechanisms. These include connecting the follower's sense of
identity and self to the mission and the collective identity of the organization; being a role model for followers that
inspires them; challenging followers to take greater ownership for their work, and understanding the strengths and
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Burns theorized that transforming and transactional
leadership were mutually exclusive styles. Transactional leaders usually do not strive for cultural change in the
organization but they work in the existing culture while transformational leaders can try to change organizational
Another researcher, Bernard M. Bass (1985), extended the work of Burns (1978) by explaining the psychological
mechanisms that underlie transforming and transactional leadership; Bass also used the term "transformational"
instead of "transforming." Bass added to the initial concepts of Burns (1978) to help explain how transformational
leadership could be measured, as well as how it impacts follower motivation and performance. The extent to which
a leader is transformational, is measured first, in terms of his influence on the followers. The followers of such a
leader feel trust, admiration, loyalty and respect for the leader and because of the qualities of the transformational
leader are willing to work harder than originally expected. These outcomes occur because the transformational leader
offers followers something more than just working for self gain; they provide followers with an inspiring mission
and vision and give them an identity. The leader transforms and motivates followers through his or her idealized
influence (earlier referred to as charisma), intellectual stimulation and individual consideration. In addition, this
leader encourages followers to come up with new and unique ways to challenge the status quo and to alter the
environment to support being successful. Finally, in contrast to Burns, Bass suggested that leadership can
simultaneously display both transformational and transactional leadership.
Now 30 years of research and a number of meta-analyses have shown that transformational and transactional
leadership positively predicts a wide variety of performance outcomes including individual, group and organizational
level variables (see Bass & Bass 2008, The Bass Handbook of Leadership: Theory, Research, and Managerial
Applications" 4th edition Free Press).
The full range of leadership introduces four elements of transformational leadership:
1. Individualized Consideration – the degree to which the leader attends to each follower's needs, acts as a mentor
or coach to the follower and listens to the follower's concerns and needs. The leader gives empathy and support,
keeps communication open and places challenges before the followers. This also encompasses the need for
respect and celebrates the individual contribution that each follower can make to the team. The followers have a
will and aspirations for self development and have intrinsic motivation for their tasks.
2. Intellectual Stimulation – the degree to which the leader challenges assumptions, takes risks and solicits
followers' ideas. Leaders with this style stimulate and encourage creativity in their followers. They nurture and
develop people who...