Yukl (1989) says that transformational leadership is the process of influencing major changes in the attitudes and assumptions of the organization’s mission or objectives. Transformational leaders are change agents. They influence the mission and objectives to make way for a brighter future for the organization. Bass (1990) states that transformational leadership commonly involves the actions of leader’s influence on followers. People in these organizations follow the leader because they so desire. They are motivated to do more than is originally expected because of their feelings of trust, admiration, loyalty, and respect for the leader. They want to go the extra mile because of the deep sense of satisfaction they derive doing so. The leader motivates the subordinates by making them more aware of the importance of values of task outcomes, and by helping subordinates think beyond their own self-interest to the work team and organization, and by activating higher order needs such as creative expression and self- actualization. Transformational leaders have charisma, but this is not the only factor needed to bring about change. They sometimes go down to the trenches with their followers as they also perform the roles of coach, trainer and mentor. (Shani & Lou, 2000)
Transformational leaders do not hesitate to challenge the process by searching for opportunities, experimenting and taking risks. They do not merely call for changes to be made. They take the lead initiating and proposing changes. They get their hands dirty and that is one reason they are much respected by their followers.
Transformational leaders inspire a shared vision by envisioning the future and enlisting others. They do not mind going it alone as they carve out the vision for the entire organization. Then they rally others to buy and support this vision as if it belonged to each of the organization’s members personally. These leaders enable others to act by fostering collaboration and strengthening other team members. They model the way by setting example and planning small wins. They encourage the heart by recognizing contributions and celebrating accomplishments. (James Kouzes and Barry Posner, 1990)
Transformational leaders employ the style that best suits the situation they face. They do not necessarily apply the effective method that worked yesterday to today’s problems. They do not approach every situation in the same way. When something does not work the first time, they do not get a bigger hammer and hit it again. Transformational leaders restudy the situation and look for a better approach. They realize that style is not as important as results.(Lewis, 1996) Transformational leaders are generally not selfish. They inspire others to excel and they give everybody individual consideration. These leaders stimulate people to think in new ways. Their impact in the organizations they work is almost revolutionary. They transform the people and organizations with which they work. (Lewis, 1996)
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