Servant Leadership Transformational And Transactional Theories Management Essay

Executive summary:

Purpose of this study is to examine the similarities of Servant leadership, transformational and transactional theories and also examine the Contribution those theories make to the understanding of leadership.


Leadership has a major role in 21st century in all sectors. Here I am going to discuss about understanding of what leadership is, is there any similarities among three theorists on what fine or valuable leadership ought to be. Expectation, in the 21st Century leader should be moral, social and ethical responsible.

What is leadership?

Leadership is a process of influencing the people to obtain the desired goal. There are many authors giving different definition. Goleman (2000): ‘A leader’s singular job is to get results’.

House et al (2004): ‘Leadership is the ability to motivate, influence and enable individuals

To contribute to the objectives of organizations of which they are members’. Stogdill (1974): ‘Leadership is an influencing process aimed at goal achievement’. Johns T (2008) says:

‘A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to be, but ought to be.’There are a number of types of leaders who adopt different leadership styles

According to Richard Bolden (2004), Different leadership theories were revealed and classified. And also only few leadership theories reached to people. They are:

  • Great Man
  • Trait
  • Contingency
  • Situational
  • Behavioral
  • Participative
  • Management ( transactional leadership theory )
  • Relationship (transformation , servant and team leadership)

Now I am going to discuss about transformational, transactional and servant leadership.

T ransformational leadership:

James Macgregor Burns was the first person who forward concept of transforming

Leadership. Burns (1978) states, “Transforming leadership as “a process where leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of morality and motivation”(p.20). Transforming leadership can answer “in a relationship of mutual Stimulation and elevation that converts followers into leaders and may convert Leaders into moral agents”(p. 4) and then bass b.m was developed the transformation leadership. Bass (1996), Transformational headship happens when a Leader encourage followers to share a vision, allowing them to achieve the vision, and providing the opportunity to develop their individual potential. covey (1992) says, “The goal of transformational leadership is to transform people and organizations in a literal sense, to change them in mind and heart; enlarge vision, insight and understanding; clarify purposes; Make behavior congruent with beliefs, principles, or values; and bring about changes that are permanent, self-perpetuating, and momentum building”(p.287).Transformational leaders serve as role models , and also (Kelly, 2003) mentioning about how transformational leadership motivates its followers by following Maslow’s hierarchy. Transformational leader raise people from low levels of need (food, water, etc) to higher levels (self actualization).

Components of transformational leadership : “Four common I’s are,

1. Idealized influence : (II)

Transformational leaders behave in ways that result in their being role models for their followers. The leaders are admired, respected, and trusted.

2.Inspirational motivation .(IM)

Transformational leaders act in ways that inspire and encourage those around them by providing sense able and challenge to their followers, work. Team spirit is aroused. The leader gives clear information about mission, vision and expectations that followers want to meet and also show dedicationtowards goals and the shared long term plan.

3. Intellectual stimulation. (IS)


Leaders encourage their follower’s hard work to be inventive and new, modern by questing assumptions, reframing the troubles, and approaching mature situations in new or different ways. Creativity is encouraged. Followers are encouraged to try new approach and are not criticized because they differ from leader’s idea.

4. Individualized consideration .(IC)

Transformational leaders pay special focus to each individual’s needs and to help them achieve their higher level needs. Trace over individual talents. Being a coacher and mentor to his followers and colleagues are developed to consecutively higher levels of potential. Source: (Kelly, 2003)

Characteristics of transformational leader : According to (Tichy and Devanna, 1986), they have seven characteristics to inspire their followers to achieve beyond the expectation.

  1. They visibly see themselves as change agents
  2. They are brave
  3. They believe in people
  4. They are driven by a strong set of values
  5. They are life-long learners
  6. They can cope with complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity
  7. They are visionaries

Example of successful transformation leadership:

There are many leaders succeed in the way transformational leadership qualities. Mahatma Gandhi is Transformational leader representing charismatic qualities. Lou Gerstner is a transformational leader retired Chairman and CEO of IBM (1993 to 2002). He entered in IBM when it was in $8.1 billion loss in 1993 after recognizing the company’s problem are wrong validation, only looking for results and values. IBM had become small-minded and nonflexible (Sheppard, 2002). Lou Gerstner entirely transformed organizational culture. For example, shut down infamous IBM’s dress code to reproduce better the clothing of their customers (Sheppard, 2002). Another example for transformational leader is Lee Iacocca , who is accredited with saving the Chrysler Corporation (1980-1992). Chrysler Corporation when it was on the edge of bankruptcy. He taken responsibility and he set about transforming the principles to his contiguous subordinates. He began to restructure the corporation’s culture. Because a transformational leader gives confidence to others to become transformational leaders, soon the whole organization was packed with successful leaders (Kelly, 2003).

Transactional leadership:

Transactional leadership emphasizes Social transaction or exchange between followers and a leader that involves involves a number of transactions based on reward. The transactional leader makes clear what he want, Performance expectations, goals, link between goals and rewards. The leader also watches followers’ performance And if any mistakes occurring towards the goal, the leader appear to correct (Burns 1978). In practice, these leaders use more closed and leading questions (Randell, 1997).

Components of transactional leadership : (Bass & Avolio, 1994)

1. Contingent rewards :

It refers to a prearranged agreement : “If you do as we agreed then …” it specifies expectation and sets goals.

2. Active management-by-exception :

It refers to behavior where the leader is actively monitoring a follower: “I am seeing to it that you (do not) …” the leader is strongly supervising and has specified corrective actions for mistakes.

3. Passive management-by-exception :

It occurs when the leader is passively monitoring a follower: “If I happen to notice that you (did not) …”; the leader takes corrective action in the case of mistakes if these are found out. All these behaviors work on the principles of expectancy of reward and fear of punishment , related to needs that are lower on Maslow’s hierarchy

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Characteristics of transactional leadership: according to Marcbowles (2003),

  • They setting a clear goal.
  • They create targets for each individual and the team
  • They spot performance gaps.
  • They won’t trust their followers, they monitor their performance.
  • They take corrective actions when necessary.
  • They gaining promise to performance and tasks through pay, reward, appreciation and honor.

Example of successful transactional leadership:

Transactional leadership is mostly follow by managers and CEO in many organizations in 21st century.

Ezine (2010) mentioning about Steve Jobs chairman and CEO Apple inc.he got award best CEO OF 2009 by TIMES. Heis the famous transactional leader. Steve Jobs was famous for his down to world and job oriented nature of his leadership in apple computer.—Transactional-Leadership&id=4262945

Servant leadership:

Servant leadership sights a leader as a servant. Servant leadership was developed by green leaf in 1970, he said that The servant-leader is servant first. “It begins with the natural emotion or feelings that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then mindful choice brings one to aspire to lead. Such a person is sharply different from one who is Leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions.” (Greenleaf et al, 1998).

Katzenbach and Smith (1993) highlights

  • The importance of leaders knowing when to follow
  • The importance of the leader acting as supportive person to their followers to achieve task rather than just directing.
  • They propose that the leader should ask questions rather than giving answers;
  • provide opportunities for others to lead them;

Components of servant leadership:

According to (Laub, 1999) cited in (Smith et al, 2004), Servant leadership has six distinct components:

  • Respecting people
  • Rising people
  • Building society
  • Displaying legitimacy
  • offering leadership
  • shared leadership

Characteristics of servant leadership:

  • They Serve other’s needs before their needs
  • They believe in people
  • They are very simple and caring personalities
  • They Provide opportunities to learn and grow
  • They create Strong interpersonal relationships
  • divide power and release control
  • divide status and promote others

Example of Successful servant leadership:

Maxwell j (2007) add the new law in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership Leaders Add Value by Serving Others, he described about serving others ,can make huge values(profit) in the organization. Adding Profits by Adding Value – Costco’s CEO, Jim Sinegal , believes the success of Costco comes from treating his employees well.

Transactional versus Transformational leadership:

According to Bass (1985) transactional leader motivates subordinates by exchanging rewards for services provided. Transactional Leader mainly focused on goal. Leader has been gaining promise to performance and goals through pay, reward, recognition and praise. Transformational leaders, on the other hand, motivate subordinates to perform “beyond expectations.”. Bass argued that such performance cannot be achieved through transactional leadership alone.

A Comparison of Transactional and Transformational Leadership:

Leithwood and Jantzi (2000) end that transactional leader more generally apply teleological principles (teleology is the study of goals, ends and purposes.) Where as transformational leaders deploy deontological ethics.

Servant Leadership versus Transactional Leadership:

Servant leadership and transactional leadership are evident in a number of ways. Servant leaders emphasize activities that fans of well-being, while transactional leaders focus on the activities of routine maintenance and resource allocation followers of monitoring and management to achieve organizational goals. Contrary to the chief servants who influence followers through personal development and empowerment, the transactional leader influences followers through the use of rewards, sanctions, and formal authority and position to induce behavior consistent. According to Blanchard and Johnson (1985), transactional leaders create strong expectations about the behavior of employees, as well as clear guidance on employees receive rewards for meeting the expectations of transactional leader.Li Thus, leaders use transactional contingent reward behavior to implement transactions with followers to achieve work goals (Bass, 1985).

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Servant Leadership versus Transactional Leadership:

According to the stone and his colleague point of view servant leadership and transformational leadership, both models incorporate characteristics such as value, vision, power, molding, belief, honesty, and designation (Stone et al., 2003).Transformational leadership and servant leadership have similar qualities such as individualized appreciation and consideration of followers.

A Comparative Model: Servant a nd Transformational Leadership

The Servant Leader model , the leader’s motivation to lead occurs from a fundamental attitude of social equality. The servant leader’s system believes that He or she is no better than those headed. The All associates of the organization have equal privileges to vision, value, and information. The leader’s role is to make easy the appearance of a community within the organization. According to (Laub, 1999), the key inventiveness for Servant leadership is importance of people, rising people, structuring community, displaying legitimacy and sharing management”. Possible impacts of these drivers could be: higher capable people, more moral people, better negotiator, well-built interpersonal relationships, establishment of shared visions, and clear tasks. It is discussed here that these results in combination with the leader initiatives that produce them to form a spiritual generative culture.

T ransformational leader model , the key initiatives for the transformational leader is II or charisma behavior, IM, IS and IC. These Components lead to: role modeling, high moral standards, caring about others needs requirements, communication of hope, shared visions, innovations, risk taking, and quizzical of practices and systems.

Servant leadership tends to develop a more fixed method to the exterior environment than transformational leadership. The transformational leader’s motivation is aimed at for more toward achieving targets for the organization, which will reveal on his/her capabilities, and the success of these leaders is calculated by the level to which they acquire organizational rewards. The Servant leader’s motivation is mainly focus on its follower the personal growth, thus the servant leaders’ achievement is calculated by the level to which the follower moves on the way to self actualization.


Leadership is attitude not a role. Leadership in Leadership, It seems, is increasingly becoming the universal remedy of the 21st Century and its emphasis is turning towards the moral, social and ethical responsibilities of leaders. Transformational leadership is suitable for dynamic organization and servant leadership suitable for static organization such as church, non-profit organization, non-government organization. Most of leader using transactional leadership theory while they using transformational leadership.  

“There is nothing as practical as a good theory” (Lewin, 1935). So Today’s leaders need to be skilled in change management to adopt in any situation CHRISTINA OSBORNE (2008).

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