Leading People Guiding People Influencing People Commanding People Management Essay

According to Peter F drucker “An effective leader is one who can make ordinary people do extraordinary things, make common people do uncommon things. Leadership is a lifting of a man’s sights to a higher vision, the raising of man’s standard to a higher performance, the building of a man’s performance beyond its normal limitations”.


In today’s business arena leaders are not necessarily born they are made. Leaders will inspire us and motivate us to reach our goals.

Transformational Leadership theory: the transformation of changes in work



The leadership plays a vital role in an every organization the role every manager must fill in the workplace is leadership. Managers often make the mistake of assuming that because they are the managers, they are also the leaders and that their associates will automatically follow. In reality, position only denotes title, not leadership. Peter Northouse (2001) defines leadership as a process whereby one individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. To be an effective leader, the manager must influence his associates in a positive way to reach the goals of the organization. Furthermore, the transformational leadership approach can help managers become exceptional leaders. This paper will explain the transformational leadership approach by discussing its strengths, weaknesses, and steps for application.

Transformational Leadership

To use this approach in the workforce, one must first understand exactly what transformational leadership is. In the simplest terms, transformational leadership is a process that changes and transforms individuals (Northouse, 2001). In other words, transformational leadership is the ability to get people to want to change, to improve, and to be led. It involves assessing associates’ motives, satisfying their needs, and valuing them (Northouse, 2001).Therefore, a transformational leader could make the company more successful by valuing its associates.

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One such example is Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, who often visited Wal-Mart stores across the country to meet with associates to show his appreciation for what they did for the company. Sam Walton gave “rules for success” in his autobiography, one of which was to appreciate associates with praise (Walton, 1996).

There are four factors to transformational leadership, (also known as the “four I’s”):idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individual consideration.

Each factor will be discussed to help managers use this approach in the workplace.

• Idealized influence describes managers who are exemplary role models for associates. Managers with idealized influence can be trusted and respected by associates to make good decisions for the organization.

• Inspirational motivation describes managers who motivate associates to commit to the vision

of the organization. Managers with inspirational motivation encourage team spirit to reach goals of increased revenue and market growth for the organization.

• Intellectual Stimulation describes managers who encourage innovation and creativity through challenging the normal beliefs or views of a group. Managers with intellectual stimulation promote critical thinking and problem solving to make the organization better.

• Individual consideration describes managers who act as coaches and advisors to the

associates. Managers with individualconsideration encourage associates to reach goals

that help both the associates and the organization.Effective transformational leadership results inperformances that exceed organizationalexpectations. Figure 1 illustrates the “additive”

effect of transformational leadership becausemanagers must pull together the components to reach”performance beyond expectations” (Northouse,2001).

Figure 1. Additive effect of transformational leadership.

Each of the four components describescharacteristics that are valuable to the

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“transformation” process. When managers arestrong role models, encouragers, innovators, andcoaches, they are utilizing the “four I’s” to help”transform” their associates into better, moreproductive and successful individuals. Northouse(2001) states that in 39 studies of transformationalliterature, individuals who exhibited transformationalleadership were more effective leaders with betterwork outcomes. This was true for both high- andlow-level leaders in the public and private sectors(Northouse, 2001). Therefore, it can be veryadvantageous for managers to apply thetransformational approach in the workplace.

Strengths and Weaknesses ofTransformational Leadership

As with any theory or approach to leadership,strengths and weaknesses become evident. Northouse(2001) identifies the strengths and weaknesses of thetransformational leadership approach as follows:

• Strengths are widely researched (usingwell-known leaders), effectively influence

associates on all levels (from one-on-one to thewhole organization), and strongly emphasize

associates’ needs and values.

• Weaknesses have many components that seemtoo broad, treat leadership more as a personalitytrait than as a learned behavior, and have thepotential for abusing power.

Applying TransformationalLeadership

Because transformational leadership covers a

wide range of aspects within leadership, there are no

specific steps for a manager to follow. Becoming an

effective transformational leader is a process. This

means that conscious effort must be made to adopt a

transformational style. Understanding the basics of

Transformational Leadership: The Transformation of Managers and Associates 3

transformational leadership and the four I’s can help a

manager apply this approach. According to

Northouse (2001), a transformational leader has the

following qualities:

• empowers followers to do what is best for the


• is a strong role model with high values;

• listens to all viewpoints to develop a spirit of

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• creates a vision, using people in the


• acts as a change agent within the organization

by setting an example of how to initiate and

implement change;

• helps the organization by helping others

contribute to the organization.


Transformational leadership is a vital role for

effective managers because leader effectiveness

determines the success level of the organization.

According to Hesselbein and Cohen (1999, p. 263),

organizations that take the time to teach leadership

are far ahead of the competition. By becoming

familiar with the transformational leadership

approach and combining the four I’s, managers can

become effective leaders in the business world.

Transformational leadership can be applied in

one-on-one or group situations. Using this approach,

the manager (leader) and the associates (followers)

are “transformed” to enhance job performance and

help the organization be more productive and


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