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Transactional and Transformational leadership: theory and analysis

Transactional Leadership Theory says that people are encouraged by incentive and castigation. They will seek to perform most excellently if they are aware of certain attractive rewards for job well done and castigation for failure to accomplish the task. Transactional leaders appear to be strongly directive and they tend not to use the consultative, participative or delegative styles to any significant extent (Gill, 1999a cited in Gill 2006). The transactional leader cajoles his followers with incentives; he is interested only with the result and not the concern of follower.

They just set objectives, put down policies and rules and if goals are achieved; they give incentives. While on the other hand the transformational leader creates confidence and esteem in his followers and sets high potentials in them, assisting them in attaining their targets. Transformational leadership focuses on a leader’s transforming abilities rather than on personal characteristics and follower relations (Lussier and Achua 2004). Bass (1990, p.

21) specified that transformational leadership ”occurs when leaders broaden and elevate the interests of their employees, when they generate awareness and acceptance of the purposes and mission of the group, and when they stir their employees to look beyond their own self-interest for the good of the group”.

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Noel Tichy and Mary Anne Devanna (1986 cited in Huczynski and Buchanan 2007) argued that the transformational leader has three main roles: recognising the need for revitalization, creating a new vision and institutionalising change.

Due to the global recession, organisations need leaders who can effectively trade and execute valiant schemes that would change or support the organisation’s area of competencies and weaknesses with rising prospects.

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According to Lussier and Achua(2004), researchers surmise that an effective transformational leader posses attributes like: seeing themselves as change agents, are visionaries who have level of trust for their intuition, are risk-takers but not reckless, possess exceptional cognitive skills, believe in people and show sensitivity to their needs and are flexible and open to learning from experience.

An example of transformational Leadership is observed in Miccom Advertising Agency, Nigeria, the leader fulfils all the qualities of a transformational leader. He advises and encourages his employees, makes work interesting, sets understandable targets, assists people in seeing past their self-centeredness and work more on group accomplishment. However, Zaccaro and Klimoski (2001) pointed out that hierarchical level as a moderator in the use and effectiveness of leadership behaviour is a long-held theoretical assumption.

Sadler (1997 cited in Gill 2006) also believed that the concept of transformation overemphasises the role of a leader in the change process. The habitual leadership theories stressed the leader-follower structure while the non habitual theory sees the leader as a servant of the people and organisation. It is less about directing or controlling, focuses on helping followers do their jobs rather than having followers help the managers do their jobs (Lussier and Achua 2004).

Servant leadership entails strong values: a leader that takes on leadership role because he wants to serve others, ”people follow servant leaders because they trust them” (Gill 2006 p. 41). It is true that those who would be great must be like the least and be servant of all (Maxwell 1999). Greenleaf (1977 cited in Gill 2006, p. 40), further said ‘Great leaders serve others’. A servant leader is one who is a servant first, with characteristics like: Listening, Empathy, Healing, awareness, Persuasion, conceptualization, Foresight, Stewardship, commitment to the growth of people and building community (Larry C.Spears and Michele Lawrence 2004 cited in Wilson 2008).

However, Tom Marshall (1991, p. 67 cited in Gill 2006, p. 41) had a different take, he said ”after all, leaders lead, servants serve. If leaders are going to be servants, what are the servants going to do, and who is going to do the leading? ”In conclusion, both innate qualities and learned skills could be classified as attributes of an effective leader. This assessment of leadership theories has shown that there is no straightforward answer to why effectiveness varies in leaders and best leadership style does not exist.

What matters is that the style adopted should fit with the expectations of those being led and be consistent with the task at hand (Goleman 2000). Theoretically, there are numerous attributes of an effective leader but in the real world; leaders do not need to have all of it to be effective. Leaders have diverse type of behavioural approach which depends on their leadership style, when it is used appropriately, it will make them an effective leader. The components which contribute to an effective leader differ depending on the circumstances, including the features of the group and of the leader.

Similarly, the style used will also be affected by these components. An effective leader will be capable of directing the team to achieve their goals and become a thriving team. In all of these theories and leadership concepts, there’s a fundamental message that leaders must have a range of features working in their support. ”Leadership ability is the lid that determines a person’s level of effectiveness. The lower an individual’s ability to lead, the lower the lid on his potential. The higher the ability, the greater the effectiveness”, that is why in times of trouble; organisations naturally look for new leadership (Maxwell 1998, p. 1).

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Transactional and Transformational leadership: theory and analysis. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

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