Leadership Is About Leading Followers Management Essay

According to Williams, C McWilliams, A, leadership is about leading followers to achieve organization or company goals’. The purpose of this essay is to define the differences between transformational leadership and transactional leadership. The former “facilitates a redefinition of a people’s mission and vision, a renewal of their commitment and the restructuring of their systems for goal accomplishment” (Leithwood, cited in Cashin et al. 2000, pp. 1). While the latter occur when the give and take exchange happens.

Transformational leadership usually called as a charismatic leadership. It is the most studied guide of leadership (Bass 1985, 1990; Bass & Avolio 1993, 1994; Gastil 1994; Lowe et al.1996; Pawar & Eastman 1997; Shamir et al. 1998; Yammorino et al.1997; Yukl 1994), while transactional leadership called as an authoritative leadership, serves to articulate and establish positions held by the leader. This leadership is the least supportive of intentional change (McWhinney 1997, pp. 194). The differences between both of them are the process and the behavior. The process of transformational leadership which is a leadership focusing on team building and strategies where all employees and leaders have a strong bond to make decisions to reach the target. For example: the McDonalds’ manager obligation is to make strategy how to provide less time to serve the chickens. While the process of transactional leadership is about making sure everything goes as desire and about the reward and the punishment. The rewards are given such as honor, wage, etc. While, the punishment is well understood by everyone. The example of transactional leadership is job for McDonalds’ employees is to sell as many chickens as possible. According to Bass (1985), transactional leadership behaviors which are the leadership aiming at monitoring and controlling employees through rational or economic means. While transformational leadership behaviors are a variety of field studies demonstrating that are positively related to employees’ satisfaction, self-reported effort, and job performances. Transformational / charismatic leadership usually make a better performance than transactional / authoritative leadership. It will produce a greater satisfaction and make less role conflict.  In addition, Ashkanasy & Tse (2000) and Bass (2002) said that, emotions are playing an important rule in the leadership’s process. Transformational leadership is very sensitive to the emotions of the followers. This sensitiveness could lead the followers to a good result if the leaders have a positive thought. Example: if the leaders of the groups have a very high self-motivation, the followers can reach beyond what they expected because they can trust their leaders, otherwise if leaders without positive thought, the leaders will not get the employees’ trust. While in the transactional leadership, it does not seem to be as sensitive as the transformational leadership. In this leadership, the leaders are not supporting the employees and cause the negative effects that make frustrations, sadness and regret to the employees because not getting what they want or expect. So, transformational leadership is more related to the positive effects while transactional leadership is more related to the negative effects.

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         Everyone personality is different, so do the leaders. Which will provide different impact to the followers. Bass (1985) identified eight dimensions of leadership behaviors. The first transformational behavior is an idealized influence, refers to leaders who have a very high personal regard and who engender loyalty from followers. The second transformational leadership behavior is an inspirational motivation, refers to leaders with a strong vision for the future based on values and ideals. The third transformational leadership dimension is an intellectual stimulation, which refers to leaders who challenge organizational norms. Individual consideration is the fourth transformational leadership dimension, refers to a leader behavior aiming at recognizing the unique growth and development the needs of followers. The fifth is contingent reward, refers to leadership behaviors focused on exchange of resources. The next one is management by exception-active, refers to monitoring performance and taking corrective action as necessary. In the management by exception-passive, the leaders are taking a passive approach. Finally, Bass (1985) included Laissez-Faire under the transactional leadership label.

          An example of Malaysian’s business which have transformational leadership is Air Asia. The owner of Air Asia is Tony Fernandes who was born on 30th April 1964, this organization is bought by him from DRB-Hicom. He studied in London, United Kingdom majoring in Finance in 1976 and graduated in 1987. Before he joined Warner Music International London in 1989 and had been promoted four times in twelve years (approximately promoted every three years), he worked in Virgin group majoring in communications. In 1992, he was transferred to Malaysia back to his hometown. And at the age of 28, he received the title of the youngest person in recording music industry’s history to head Warner Music Malaysia. Unfortunately, he leave his promising career in music industry which he had earned the position as a vice president, ASEAN region because he was going to build a low price airline based on almost the same business models as in USA (Southwest Airlines) and Europe (Ryanair & easyJet). Setia Mahkota Selangor is the title which he got in 1999 and given by his Royal Highness King of Malaysia Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah. In this airline organization he lead, the first priority is the employees, it can be said that this is showing the organization’s loyalty. Because of this organization’s trustworthiness, the employees give a good service to the customers to show the respect to the organization. This transformational leadership behavior is included into an idealized influence.

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         Even though transformational leadership is more recommended than transactional leadership as it is said above, it does not mean that transactional leadership is not important. Because the function of transactional leadership is to motivate employees to do beyond than they could expect. So both of the leadership is needed in every organization. The organization should balance their leadership between the transformational and transactional leadership.

















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