Relationship Between Transformational Leadership And Employee Wellbeing Management Essay

Leadership has been defined by various authors in different ways. According to Barron and Greenberg (1990 cited in Rollinson, 2005) leadership is the name of the process where a person influences a group of other persons or members and motivates them for the achievement of some specified group or organizational objectives. According to Rollinson (2005)in other words leadership can be defined as a process in which a person interact with his followers in such a way that he influences the actions of his followers in a non-coercive way to achieve specified goals and objectives.

To manipulate the efforts of individuals in most effective way it is the leader who plays an important role. An intellectual and a dynamic leader provides personal attention to his employees, provides encouragement of specific behaviour in workers through personal stimulation, empowers them in terms of decision making and problem solving (Sashkin and Rosenbach 1993, cited in Nielsen et al ,2009). In addition employees well being at work both physically and psychologically is the most important factor for the success and achievement of organizational goals. These are the transformational leaders who make sure about the interests of their employees, their wellbeing in terms of physical and mental health and about their satisfaction of the job (Bass, 1999).

Transformational Leadership:

Transformational leaders are the leaders who make sure and protect the interests of their employees, subordinates and colleagues and they broaden and elevate their interests as well. They create motivation and attention amongst their followers to the purpose of their group and/or organization in such a way that they give preference to the interests of their organization over their own personal interests. (Nielsen et al, 2009).

The term “Transformational Leadership” was used by Burns in 1978. According to Bass (1985, cited in Humphreys, 2005) transformational leaders create enthusiasm and awareness in their employees in a way that they struggle more and work hard effectively for the betterment and success of their organization and for the achievement of their organizational objectives. They engage themselves with their followers in such a way that they enhance each other capability and moral in the terms so that the goals of each person come together in the best interest of the organization. According to Bass (1990) the principle of the transformational behaviour is that the relationship between the leader and the follower should not be based on something like personal interest and value system, so acting upon this principle the transformational leader keeps his followers unite and in addition he transforms the objectives of his followers in most positive way towards the success of organization. He influences his employees by demonstrating;

Individual Consideration

Intellectual Stimulation

Inspirational Motivation


Avolio (et al 1991, cited in Humphreys, 2005) explains the above qualities of leadership as follows:

Individual Consideration:

The most important factor of the individual consideration is that the transformational leaders understand the needs of their employees and they know that these needs also change with the passage of time, and they keep themselves aware about any kind of differences amongst the employees. They also keep a close eye on the performance of their followers and on any kind of hurdles that may distract the efficiency of the individuals, and they take effective measures to remove these kinds of obstacles. They act as a guide and mentor to each individual and they advise them in order to improve their efficiency.

Intellectual Stimulation:

By demonstrating intellectual stimulations the transformational leaders convince their followers to change and adopt new ways and strategies in solving the problems and difficulties faced by each individual, by enhancing their behaviour, attitude and values, and for this purpose they give solid reasons to followers so that they can change their thinking about the issues regarding their work capability.

Inspirational Motivation:

The quality of inspiration and motivation in a transformational leader is the image which is created in the eyes of followers by demonstrating personal consideration and intellectual stimulation. The transformational leaders inspire and motivate employees to achieve the organizational goals by focussing the important factors in a very easy and simple way. This behaviour of the transformational leaders maximizes the confidence and encouragement of the staff which help the employees in tackling the problems in the time of crises.


Transformational leaders are the persons who are given respect and honour by their followers and also the followers show confidence and commitment upon them. It is a crucial step for the transformational leader to achieve a charisma in the eyes of the followers (Bass, 1990). The charismatic behaviour of the transformational leadership is depicted by Bass as a behavioural and attributed idealized influence which is considered to be created by individual consideration, intellectual stimulation and inspirational motivation along with trust and emotional relation with the leader (Avolio et al., 1991, cited in Humphreys, 2005).

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Relationship between Transformational Leadership and Employee Wellbeing:

Close relationships have been reported between Transformational Leadership and employee wellbeing and job satisfaction. The term wellbeing includes physical, mental, social, intellectual and spiritual health as well. The relationship between the leader and the employee is a very important factor in employee wellbeing.

Employee Wellbeing:

According to CIPD Change Agenda “creating an environment to promote a state of contentment which allows an employee to flourish and achieve their full potential for the benefit of themselves and their organization”.

In an organization having a transformation leadership style, there is always a close and strong relationship between the employees and the managers and that’s why the level of employee wellbeing remains high. Transformational leader keep themselves aware about the workload on a group or on an individual, their likes and dislikes and their need etc and in this way they are more likely to create an environment in the organization where a high level of individual and group wellbeing is achieved.

Employee’s wellbeing at work:

The wellbeing of employees at work is the most essential factor for the achievement of organizational goals and all the organizations try their best to be in a healthy environment. Employers are realizing now that they should have a wellbeing strategy to improve mental and physical health of their staff. Most of employers now provide private health insurance and some employers provide also access to gym and counselling. If the employees in an organization are physically, mentally and socially healthy then this must contribute to their success. On the other hand the imbalance of work load, threat of insecurity, irritative relation amongst the employees or with the line managers and a lack of empowerment will result a high rate of stress, absence, inefficient staff performance, and concerns about job satisfaction. According to CIPD absence management survey (2006, cited in CIPD, 2007) the work related stress and mental conditions are the main reasons of employee’s absence and according to that survey the average rate of absence is eight days per employee per year which costs the organizations about £600 per year per employee. According to ESRC (2006) report around 28 million days are lost every year due to staff absence. It is estimated that stress costs businesses about £3.8 billion per year (Health and Safety Executive, 2006, cited in Baptiste, 2007 ). The organizations that have realized that the health and safety, employee wellbeing and their satisfaction about job is the most important factor in terms of good performance and goal achievements and they have made investments in employee’s wellbeing these institutions are enjoying the advantages of their healthy and confident workforce towards their organizational success. (Peccie, 2004, cited in Baptiste, 2007).

Under the transformational leadership style the employees in an organization are given the opportunity to apply and enhance their knowledge and skills to get the job done. Institute of Directors discovered that wellbeing satisfy the small businesses in terms of client requirements, controlling insurance charges, increase production and it also satisfies, attracts and motivates the staff (IOD 2006, cited in CIPD, 2007).

According to Baptiste In the organizations where the employees have a voice and they have provided with support and encouragement from their leaders they work more effectively and their positive behaviour and commitment results in best performance and productivity. HRM practices which create a relationship between leadership and employees, and help in developing trust and engagement, also contribute towards the effective attitude of employees and ensure wellbeing at work which consequently results in better performance.

According to Ilies, R., Morgeson, P. F., Nahragang, J, D.,(2005) the positive organizational scholarships ensure the effective organizational behaviour which results in enhanced employees wellbeing and “is distinguished from traditional organizational studies in that it seeks to understand what represents and approaches the best of the human condition” . The recent theories and discussions regarding the positive and ethical leadership in organizations have induced to a combine effort to ensure all the effective approaches to leadership. Within the context of increasingly important field of employee wellbeing and the positive characteristics of human functioning like positive emotions, hope, struggle for the achievements of organizational objectives for the social and mental health and wellbeing. According to Avolio & Gardner, 2005 this combine effort consequently results in the positive leadership approaches like transformational, inspirational, charismatic leadership. These kinds of leaders are trustworthy and they keep themselves aware about their own values as well as they modify their employees thinking and objectives in terms of positive organizational context.

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Trainings to manage workplace stress:

Shuttleworth, A., (2005) states, since it’s the duty of the employers to take care of their workers and which is mentioned in the Health and Safety at Work Regulation 1999, the HSE draft management standard has revealed the accountability cases that employers face due to workplace stress. In February 2000 a former post office manager made a claim against stress related sickness due to extra work load and he got £175000. Employers are now engaged in essential trainings to overcome stress related issues at workplace such as bullying, to enhance empowerment, improve resilience to stress. Furthermore the organizations are emphasising the senior management and leaders to be actively participate to support and develop the initiative and its design.

Role of Transformational Leader in Combating Employees Negativity:

According to Avey, J, B., (2008) now a day in the print media special attention has been paid to the soaring figures of employees’ working hours and to the level of its stress. It is the result of the new global market trends in the world economy where due to an increase in the demands, the organizations are putting extra pressure on their employees to work for extra hours which is resulting in some negative effects like cynicism and their decisions to quit the jobs etc but a less importance has been given to these issues regarding workers negativity and how to overcome these negative factors.

Previous theories and researches have shown that the transformational leadership help in combating employees’ negativity and enhanced their psychological wellbeing, empowerment, self confidence and independence which results in subsequent engagement and satisfaction about job. (Dvir et al, 2002). According to Avolio et al, (2004) transformational leadership empowers and motivates employees to job commitment. And empowerment subsequently results in job satisfaction; it reduces work related strain and also enhances employees’ efficiency positively (Avey et al., 2008). It reduces the level of disappointment and anger in employees’ feelings regarding their job (Judge and Ilies, 2004). In the development of positive and effective organizational behaviour the recent studies (Avey et al., 2008) have shown that there is a close relationship among the psychological capital, performance and absenteeism (Avey et al., 2008).

According to Harter, J, K., Schmidt, F, L., and Keys C, L, M., (2003) by demonstrating the individual consideration, intellectual stimulation and inspirational motivation the transformational leaders provide an opportunity to their employees where there is no presence of strain (too much challenges) or boredom (too little challenges) which affects adversely the quality and quantity of employee performance as well as their standard of life (Edwards, Caplan, & Van Hrrison, 1998). In this kind of environment the workers face interesting and meaningful job tasks as Brim (1992) has called manageable difficulties and Csikszentmihalyi (1997) called as optimal states, it is the state where workers feel themselves as energetic, productive, growing, happy and engaged, and it is the situation where the demands are equal to or slightly above the level of resources (Waterman, 1993). By enhancing the worker’s emotional wellbeing and their satisfaction with work and workplace, transformational leaders promote the quality of individual’s life as well as the productivity of entire community which consequently results in organizational outcomes in terms of best productivity, profitability, employee turnover and customer loyalty etc.

Role of Empowerment:

Empowerment is a main factor of the transformational leadership style in terms of work satisfaction and enhanced employee’s psychological wellbeing. The relationship of empowerment to job satisfaction is founded positive and it is related negatively to work strain (Avey, et al., 2008). In terms of a motivational means the empowerment consists of four cognitions like meaning, competence, self determination and impact. The meaning refers to the individual’s personal standards to the value of work objective. Competence refers to the trust and confidence in the individual’s mind regarding their ability to perform their organizational job tasks with personal skills. Self determination means the concept in the employees mind that they have some options and choices to start and regulate their job activities and strategies and the term impact refers to the level of individual influence on strategies and operating consequences.

Role of Leadership, Empowerment and Positivity in combating employee negativity

Figure 1. source from Avey et al (2008).

Transformational leadership is positively related to empowerment (Kark et al., 2003, cited in Avey et al., 2008). Positive work outcomes like good performance and job satisfaction is positively related to the transformational relationship (Lowe et al., 1996, cited in Avey et al., 2008). Followers of the transformational leader found that they perform their job duties in most positive way and with most self confidence (Bono and Judge 2003). This gives further support to the theories that the followers of the transformational leaders are more empowered in term of decision making, greater autonomy and ownership etc.

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Transformational Leadership, Employee Attitude and Job Commitment:

According to Kelloway, E, K and Barling Julian (2000) the concept that the transformational leadership which consists of the four important dimensions of Individual consideration, Intellectual stimulation, Inspirational motivation and Charisma is now well established in the literature (Avolio, 1999; Bass, 1985; 1990; 1998; Conger and Kanungo, 1987; House, 1977). Problems are also identified by various authors in the measurement of transformational leadership (e.g., Bycio et al., 1995; Carless, 1998) and there is enough support as well for the transformational leadership in relation to efficiency, production, quality and other attitude related to outcomes. The employees’ behaviour towards organization in terms of job commitment (Barling et al., 1996; Bycio et al., 1995), fairness sense in the organization (Pillai et al., 1999), trust in leader (Pillai et al., 1999; Podsakoff et al., 1995), satisfaction with job and with leader (Hater and Bass, 1988; Koh et al., 1995) etc are also linked with the transformational leadership.

Role of Leadership and Leader-member exchange:

According to Jean Lee (2005) the most comprehensive theory is the “multi-factor leadership theory” that holds a range of leadership behaviours (Jean Lee, 2005). Transformational leaders enhance the relationship with their employees in such a way that prove more than an economic and social exchange. The current studies have revealed that the relationship of transformational leadership is related to effective efforts (Jean Lee, 2005), leader’s satisfaction and trust (Jean Lee, 2005) and to the employee’s respect for the leader (Conger et al., 2000). The transformational leadership style creates a meaningful exchange, remove status barrier and physical distances between leader and employees. They also maximize the level of exchange with their employees (Jean Lee, 2005). By setting themselves as a role model for employees transformational leader enhance the level of trust and contribution because the employees feel that their leader is sacrificing and taking risks for the benefits of the group or team (Jean Lee, 2005). From the above data it can be observed that transformational leadership has a positive association with affect, loyalty, contribution and professional respect.

Role of Emotional Intelligence:

According to Barling, j, Slater, F and Kelloway (2000), as it is obvious from the literature (Barling et al., 2000) that the theory of transformational leadership has gained more scrutiny and we now know that there is a close relationship between transformational leadership and employees’ satisfaction (Barling et al., 2000), job commitment and trust ( Barling et al., 2000) and further more it is linked with work unit performance (Barling et al., 2000). Some present studies are now emphasising on another component “Emotional Intelligence” which may induce leaders to adopt transformational attitude (EQ). According to Salovey and Mayer (1990) and Golman (1995, cited in Barling et al., 2000) the emotional intelligence consists of five features such as knowledge of one’s emotions, the way of managing them, self control over own emotions & ability to delay indulgence, and to manage the relationship. Golman argues that high emotional intelligence in a leader lead to use transformational behaviours because they know and have control over their own emotions and represent themselves as a role model for their workers which develops their trust in and honour for the leader. Secondly leader with high emotional intelligence knows about other emotions and they can easily judge the limits to which follower’s expectations could be improved. Another important factor of individualized consideration is that with emotional intelligence the leader understands their worker’s needs and they react to them accordingly that result in managing and enhancing relationship positively.


Transformational leaders play a vital role in the success of organizations. By demonstrating individual consideration, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and charismatic behaviour they create an ideal environment for their followers and subordinates in which the purpose of the individuals and/or group comes together in the best interest of the organization. In addition they promote the wellbeing of their followers and subordinates in terms of physical and mental health which in turn develops the trust and their satisfaction about the job as well as trust among the employees and in the leader. In return under the transformational leadership and a healthy environment the organizations enjoy the benefits of their healthy workforce in terms of best performance, productivity and profitability.

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