Transactional leadership paper - Leadership Essay Example
Transactional leadership style is based on the concept that effective leadership is founded on a reciprocal relationship between a leader and his/her followers - Transactional leadership paper introduction. At the same time transactional leadership is founded on the principle that punishment and reward is able to motivate employees. Today, this kind of leadership plays an important function in advancement of an organization. Bass (1985) asserts that a lot of organizations toady are resorting to transactional kind of leadership. As Bass ( 1985) adds, organizations have realized that to achieve their objectives they have to give their employees something in return to their compliance and efforts Such incentives includes increasing their pay or raising their positions.
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What is leadership?
Bass (1985) defines leadership as a process of social influence whereby an individual is able to get the support of other individuals in achieving a common objective. However, Burns (1978) defines leadership, as being eventually about formulating a way for individuals to contribute to make something unusual to happen. Leadership is seen as a basic element of work and social life. In deed in any particular circumstance where a number of people want to achieve a common objective, a leader might be needed. Leadership activities happen in nearly all official and non-official social settings. Even in a non-official setting like a group of friends when together, some kind of a leadership conduct happen whereby one person normally leads in many of the activities undertaken by the group.
Leadership behavior also occurs in political as well as organizational settings, whereby leaders might have or might not have official authority, however he/she may show leadership behavior when he/she influence people to work for a common objective. Some behaviors shown by a leader include:
Attentive towards social situations
Adaptable in various situations
Dependable and assertive
Confident, knowledgeable and firm
Different theories have been formulated to try and explain the occurrence of leadership. These theories have tried to define leadership in different manners and have attempted to classify attributes as well as qualities that make a successful leader. Burns (1978) observes that leadership is normally seen as the ability of a person to influence a group of individuals towards the attainment of certain objectives. Hence, leadership is an activity; an influence or a process, whereby a person obtains trust and dedication of other by depending on formal position or without the formal position and drives the group to the achievement of certain task or tasks.
Burns (1978) identify the main aspects in any leadership position as follows:
Leadership entails an activity or some processes
Leadership process entails some elements like influence, persuasion or excellent behavior
Leadership entails leaders and followers
Leadership process has got varying results; most clearly the accomplishment of objectives, besides this, individuals must be committed to those objectives.
Transactional leaders as defined by (Bass, 1990, 21) are those leaders who “direct or motivate their follows in a direction that has been established”, the leader claries the role and assignment requirements. Transactional leadership style is a kind of leadership where rewards and punishment actions are taken to motivate employees. This leadership aspires to motivate followers through pleasing their individual interests. Transactional principles are aimed at motivating workers using the exchange of positions and salaries for the efforts and achievement of the employees.
Concepts of transactional leadership
As stated transactional leadership lies in the concept that punishment and reward are able motivates employees. In addition to this, this leadership style as well presumes that when employees agree to perform a particular duty, a component of that agreement is that the employees will surrender all authority to their leader. The leader then has control and authority over the employees. The main objective of the employee should be to follow the directives of their leaders or managers. The notion is that if a junior employee takes up a duty, he/she agrees to fully abide by their managers.
Bass (1990) explains that the “transaction” referrers to the pay or any other reward that the organization pays to its employees for their obedience and efforts. The relation between an employee and the manager or the leader becomes transactional. In this kind of leadership the leader is given powers to punish his/her juniors supposing their performance is below the agreed upon standard or level.
Transactional kind of leadership makes obvious what a leader requires and expects from the subordinates. In addition, it states that the subordinates or employees will be rewarded if they take the order given serious. At times the punishments are not stated but they are merely understood.
In the initial phase of transactional leadership, the employee is in the course of negotiating for the contract. Within the contract, the fixed salary as well as benefits that the employee will get is outlined. Reward is given to an employee who efforts used. Other organizations give incentives to encourage their employees to increase their productivity.
Transactional leadership is a method of increasing the productivity of employees through offering them rewards. Bass (1990) explains that at times, transactional leadership is as well known as “true leadership style” since it centers on short term objectives instead of long term objectives.
Bass (1990) explains that in transformation leadership, if a leader allocates a task to his employees, the subordinate has the responsibility of ensuring that the allocated work is completed on time. But, if the employee fails to complete that task within specified time, them the leader punishes him/her. However, if the task is successfully complete, a reward is given to the employee. Employees are as well awarded and commended for exceeding the expectations. But, if the performance falls under the expectation, the employee who performed that task is punished and some kind of measures is taken to increase the performance of such an employee.
Transactional leadership is much of a “telling style”. Bass (1990) adds that, transactional leadership is founded on the reality that reward or punishment depends on the performance of the subordinate.
Though researchers have the limitations of transactional leadership style, this kind of leadership is still applied by many organizations. Lots of other organizations are adopting transactional leadership in order to increase the productivity of their employees.
Distinctive transactional leadership behaviors
Contingent reward: this implies to the leadership behaviors centered on exchange of resources. This means that transactional leaders offer tangible or intangible assistance as well as resources to his/her followers in return for the efforts and performance they have shown.
Management through exception-active: this refers to checking performance and undertaking corrective measures where necessary. The focus of the leader focusing on management through exception is setting standards to be followed by the followers.
Management through exception- passive: this is a less active type of management through exception whereby a leader takes a passive system, interceding only when difficulties have worsened.
Laissez-faire: in this kind of behavior, the leader can be seen as avoiding to take leadership responsibilities.
Bass (1990) observes that good leaders are made and not born. Supposing you have the desire and the determination, it is possible to become a successful and effective leader. It has also been observed that good leaders develop through a continuous process of self-examination, education and experience. When an individual decides to respect as a leader, the person does not reflect on your attributes, instead he/she observes how you behave and act , so that he/she can comprehend the real you. This observation is used by the person to judge if you are an honorable and trustworthy or if you are an immoral and self-seeking person. This section will examine how a person aspiring to a leader should behave
Should be professional: the person ought to show professionalism and loyalty to the organization he/she is serving, performing duties selfless, and taking individual responsibility
Show good character: the individual ought to posses excellent characters. For instance, be honesty, committed, courageous, imaginative, competent straightforward and reliable
Understand stand leadership: the person should be able to illustrate the four aspects of leadership, leader, followers, situation and communication
Understand yourself: a person aspiring to lead must also know his/her abilities, strength and weakness, knowledge and skills that he/she has.
Have human nature: his/her behavior should illustrate that the person knows the human nature and understands, emotions of the people and how people react to different situations like stress.
Offer directions: for instance the person show good communication skills, be able to coordinate and supervise other and show evaluative character. The person should be able to also take decisions and assist in problem solving.
Set an example: the person should also show exemplary behavior and be a good role model for other to aspire to follow him/her.
However, Burns (1978) explains that the foundation of a leader is showing honorable attributes as well as selfless service to the organization one is serving. What make other people want to follow a leader are respect and a clear direction provided by a leader. In order to gain respect, a leader has to be ethical in his/her conduct. A sense of direction is attained through showing a strong vision for the future.
Why transactional leaders behave that way
The reason that leaders using transactional behaves the way they behave is that, transactional leadership relies on behaviorist approach on how human functions. Whereby, reward and punishment are seen as key aspects in shaping behavior of a person. More so, transactional leadership can be said to be more of management than leadership, this is because these kind of leaders are less interesting in transforming the work environment and want to maintain things they way they are.
Does this theory fit the practice of nursing?
Leadership styles used in nursing practice can be examined through understanding activities involved in management, planning, operations and organizational structure. There are various types of leadership styles that can be used within the nursing practice; among them is transactional leadership model (Burns, 1978).
Has noted, transactional leadership focuses on short-term achievements that are also task based. The transactional leader only intervenes when something is going wrong. This kind of leadership will be appropriate in situations where short-term, task directed projects are required.
However in nursing practice this kind of leadership will not be successful. For example, in a ward with mental disturbed patients, it requires a leadership style that provides long-term objectives between the junior nurse and the senior nurse. This is because the nurse taking care of the patients in the ward must have a long term objective. The best leadership style in nursing practice thus is transformational style. Though it is a bit complex, it provides a more positive impact on communication and team work compared to transactional style (Bondas, 2006).
As Bondas (2006) Transformational leadership will be able to shape and change the objectives as well as the values of all staff members in a hospital so that a collective objective of ensuring that the patients are treated is achieved for the benefit of the patients, all the nursing profession and the hospital as a whole. But, supposing transactional style is used, the nurses in that particular ward will be left with the responsibility of ensuring that those mental disturbed patients get well, this would prove impossible as such patients requires cooperation from the entire hospital working staff and senior nurses for effective treatment.
Again in this example, junior nurse requires to be guided and mentored to be able to achieve their goals of provided better nursing care. However, in transactional kind of leadership mentorship does not arise as the leader expects results and punishes those who fail to achieve set standards.
But when using transformational leadership style, the leaders mentor junior nurses on how deal with challenges brought by working in a ward of mental disturbed patients. The leader can ensure that that he junior nurses have got freedom to ask for information, by providing effective and open communication channels. The junior nurses have also a chance to show their initiatives, therefore promoting their self-assurance in decision making and reinforcement of skills and competence in their handling of patients. The leaders as mentors are able to provide a stable as well as supportive surrounding which promotes professional advancement through successful role modeling. As Bondas (2006) asserts the idea of mentorship is viewed as a usual expectation of nurses with less experience learning from those with more experience. All these aspects are possible in Transformational leadership style.
Ultimately, the objective of any healthcare organization ought to be influencing the quality of nursing care, using good nursing leadership (Bondas, 2006). Thus, good nursing leaders have to encourage junior nurses to achieve a better understanding of the patients’ needs and aspirations. Generally, these strategies will result in improved patient satisfaction, a better effective-nurse-patient relationship as well as speedy recovery.
Transactional leadership style is based on the concept that effective leadership is founded on a reciprocal relationship between a leader and his/her followers. In this kind of leadership, the leader rewards the employee if he/she achieves the set target through salaries or raising the status of the employee. However, if the employee fails to meet the set standards, he/she is punished. Distinctive characteristics of transactional leadership include, Contingent reward, Management through exception-active, Management through exception- passive and Laissez-faire. This paper also has shown that a person needs to show exemplary behaviors be trustworthy and be selfless if he/she aspires to be a leader. Transactional leadership can not be effectively applied in a nursing situation since it does not encourage teamwork and mentorship, attributes that are important in nursing practice. Nonetheless, transactional leadership can be used in other situations and many organizations are using this kind of leadership particularly to increase productivity of their employees.
Bass, B (1990): From transactional to transformational leadership: learning to share the vision: Organizational Dynamics, Vol. 18, Issue 3; winter, 19-31
Burns, J.M (1978): Leadership: New York; Harper and Row
Bondas, T (2006): Paths to nursing leadership: Journal of Nursing Management; 14; 332-338