Transformational Leadership And The Reasons Why Some Consider It As Being Overshadowed By Inspirational Leadership - Leadership Essay Example
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In any organization the role of a leader is germane to the actualization of the organization’s set objectives and goals. A leader is someone who has motivates the members in an organization in working towards effectively attaining the set objectives and goals of the organization. Hence, he poses the purveyor of punishment and rewards as a way of deterring laziness and encouraging hard work. Thus, a leader stares the members of the organization and keep them focused on the set objectives and goals of the organization.
There are different leadership styles that are exhibited as the leader operates in the organization. These include: democratic leadership style, autocratic, free rein, and situational or transformational leadership. A democratic leader is one that that respects the views of members and adopts their input in making a final decision for the organization. This type of leader welcomes opinions from his subordinates and seeks their views on vital matters concerning the progression of the organization. On the other hand an autocratic leader is someone who does all the decisions in the organization by himself. He has little or no trust on the ability of subordinates. He or she tends to compel workers to abide by his or her decisions whether they are pleasing or not. Liessez faire or free rein leadership style is one that gives maximum freedom to workers to make discretions of their own pertaining on how they choose to work or operate. He has little contribution to make on the pattern of steering the workers in working towards meeting the organization’s objectives and goals. Thus, he is regarded as a figure head. A situational or transformational leader is someone that adapt to changes in the environment in which he operates in. a transitional leader don’t have a fixed characteristics but adopt a leadership style that is most relevant in effectively meeting the organization’s objectives and goals. This leadership style is considered as most effective as the leader will adapt to the changes in the environment by cultivating the right attitude towards motivating the workers in meeting the organization’s goals and objectives. A transformational leader adopts or transform to a given characteristic (either the X variables or Y variables in McGregor theory) depending on the situation (Wetheim 2005).
Significance Of Transformational Leader In Organization
The transformational leader becomes more effective in periods of uncertainties and high level of instability in the environment. According to Gellis (2001), cited in Mizrahi & Berger (2005), “with organizational changes administrators find themselves balancing an internal and an external focus simultaneously. Whereas some administrators rise above the challenges and continue to provide positive leadership, others may become overwhelmed by chaos and pressure and turn negative. Still others may attempt to survive by accommodating and adjusting to the environment, exhibiting the traits of transactional leader”. A transformational leader thus, tends to survive in an environment where there is high level of changes. This is attained by their ability to adopt the right traits to withstand the changes in the environment.
Also a transformational leader, have the capability of motivating workers during period of changes resulting from alliances, merger, takeover or reformation in the management structure of the organization. During such period the workers are vulnerable or incapacitated in making a right decision. Some may truncated into making irrational decision from the fear of loosing their jobs or they can’t cope with the new structure in place. It then boils on the transformational leader to direct and motive these workers into adopting the right attitude in making the transformation in the organization become a success. In this view, Lajara et al (2002), argue that leadership capacity is perhaps the one of the most necessary elements in this process of alliance. The participation of senior managers must go beyond the formulation of a strategy based on alliance, they must personally be engaged and show their commitment and enthusiasm in the alliance. This means that a way in which a leader behaves in situation of transformation or changes in the environment will make low ranked employees see reason why to continue by seeing the relevance of such transformation in the organization.
Thus a transformational leader stands to direct his followers in cultivating the right attitude and be motivated in a dynamic environment.
Reasons Why Transformational Leaders are Overshadowed by Inspirational Leaders
To conceptualize the term ‘inspirational’ this means, being inspiring; i.e. to suddenly come up with clever idea. An inspirational leader is one that creates and gives meaning to the institution he/she leads. He is a leader that gives his followers sense of belonging in an organization, and elevates every member of the organization to a high level of self esteem through adequate motivation and morality. Transformational leader shares this quality of inspirational leaders. According to Peters & Waterman, cited in Lazano (1998) “transformational leadership eventually becomes moral leadership, as it raises the level of the followers conduct and the ethical aspiration of both himself as a leader and those of his followers and transforms both”. Hence it is seem that transformational leader eventually displays those qualities imbedded in an inspirational leader.
In contemporary times, motivating followers is a good way of utilised by inspirational leader to get effective support in the organization’s tasks. For a transformational leader the use of motivational strategies to get followers supports is not different. A transformational leaders who seeks to create changes in the organization requires the almost backings of followers and subordinate workers in effectively meeting his/her set target. For transformational leaders to be effective in motivating their followers and subordinates they need to be skilled in giving inspirational and motivational messages. According to Conger (1991, pg 1), “a most significant skill required by leaders in contemporary times is the ability for them to craft and articulate a message that is highly motivational”. For this reason a transformational leader must be attentive to his followers need, motivate them and help them to reach their full potential (Spencer 2002, pg 22).
Furthermore, communication is an essential function a transformational leader should effectively executives for his followers to come abreast with plans and ongoing targets to be attained. Those tasks the transformational is set out to attain are successfully reached when inspirational vision are translated to followers through crafting and communication.
A transformational leader thus, needs to be inspirational in his/her style of communicating and directing their subordinate in creating great impact that would enable them be motivated in executing set tasks. “outside appeal to emotions and ideals, a transformational leaders, in order to inspire his followers, uses many techniques such as metaphors, analogy or different language styles, alongside with rhythmic devices to make sure the symbolic content of their message has deep impact” (ibid: 8).
One conspicuous characteristics of a transformational leader is the charisma he exhibit in inculcating morality to his followers. For this reason, this type of leader is usually overshadowed by inspirational display of charisma, to enable his followers imbibe the morality being displayed. Without, being inspirational a transformational leader would remain like ordinary leader with less influence on the followers. In this regard, the trait theory displays five of those basic physical characteristics associated with a transformational leader include; intelligence, self-confidence, determination, integrity and sociability (Northouse, 1997, pg 17). According to Spencer (2002 pg. 22) “there are four basic factors associated with a transformational leader: idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individual consideration”. Thus, these mentioned characteristics have helped in influencing the behaviour of a transformational leader into exhibiting inspirational tendencies. An inspirational leader and a transformational leader are being classified into contingency leadership model. This is because they all share similar characteristics in the “acknowledgement of their relationship with that of their followers, aligning it with the situation on ground” (Spencer 2002, pg 20).
Thus, when a transformational leader lacks the quality to inspire his/her followers it means the occupied position of leadership would be threatened by some other leader or subordinate leader who posses more inspirational qualities.
As already mentioned, most transformational leaders who are successful in their position to turn around the situation for positive outcome for the organization they lead usually posses qualities associated with an inspirational leader. However, when the reverse is the case, it means their level of being transformational is challenged by the existence of an inspirational leader. For instance, when there is the presence of two leaders in the same level of hierarchy of authority in an organization, where one exhibit transformational characteristics, while the other is very much inspiring, the inspirational leader would perform better and overshadow the transformational leader. This is so, because the inspirational leader would be apt in dispensing clever ideas that would make the organization work, while the role of the transformational leader would be to transform the current state of the organization into the clever idea put out by the inspirational leader. Also, the management and members of the organization would be naturally form bond with the inspirational leader. While, a transformational leader would not mind whose axe is gored he would want to put in place what should be in making the organization moves ahead in attaining the set targets and objectives, an inspirational leader would be there to influence members of the organization by ensuring they see reason why they should support in the attainment of the organization’s objectives and advance it’s course. This naturally would give the inspirational leader more edge over the transformational leader.
For a transformational leader to be well operational and have the effect to transform the behaviour of his followers towards positive contribution in the attainment of the organization’s objectives and gaols he should display idealized influence, i.e. charisma, whereby he acts as strong role model that is grounded in high standards of moral and ethical display. Also, the transformational leader should posses the ability to give inspirational motivation to his followers to engender them to be committed to the share and abide with the vision of the organization. According to Spencer (2002, pg 22), “inspirational motivation is achieved through the use of symbol and emotional appeals to followers in order to focus their attention on the goals of the organization”.
From the foregoing, the difference between a transformational leader and an inspirational leader is that an inspirational leader goes a step further by stressing ethical practice and influencing positively the behaviour of his followers to make them do that which is right and acceptable in advancing the organization, and the self development of followers to making them better and actualize self esteem and self actualization. In this way, the inspirational leader overshadows those transformational leaders who posses less of inspirational traits.
Conger, Jay A. (1991), “Inspiring Others: The Language of Leadership” In Academy Of Management Executive. Vol. 5, No. 1
Lajara, B. Marco, et al (2002), “The Role of Human Resource Management in the Cooperative Strategy Process” in Human Resource planning. Vol. 25, No. 2
Lozano, Joseph M. (1998) “Ethics and Corporate Culture: A Critical Relationship” In Ethical Perspectives Volume 5, No 1, P.53
Mizrahi, T. & Berger, C.S. (2005), “A Longitudinal Look at Social Work leadership in Hospitals: The Impact of a Changing Health Care System” in Health and Social Work. Vol. 30, No. 2
Northouse, P.G. (1997), Leadership: Theory and Practice, Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
Spencer, Emily (2002), “Leadership Models and Theories: A Brief Overview” http://www.acd.forces.gc.ca/CFLI/engraph/research/pdf/12.pdf. (27/10/08)
Wertheim, Edward G. (2005), “Historical Background of Organizational Behaviour” http://web.cba.neu.edu/~ewertheim/introd/histroy.htm (11/09/05)