A transformation manager helps an organisation to get through change and to set clear goals and the way in which those goals will be met. This is where transformational leadership, also referred to as transitional leadership sometimes, comes into play. In this article we will look at the transformational leadership style and what it entails as well as some transformational leadership examples. Sinnaps project management software is a great tool for supporting leadership that sets clear goals and a roadmap for how to reach success.


Transformational Leadership


Transformational Leadership Style


James McGregor Burns developed the Burns transformational leadership theory which sets itself apart from other leadership theories by asking the most fundamental question: what is the ultimate goal of leadership and why should someone be a leader?

The transformational leadership style describes someone who takes control of a potentially unstable situation and set out clear goals for a team to reach and the way in which they will be reached. A transformational manager or leader is someone who can reenergise and motivate a team to reach those goals. The transformational leadership style helps to encourage positive change. The components of the transformational leadership style can be derived from the 4 i’s of transformational leadership: idealised influence, inspirational motivation, individualised consideration and intellectual stimulation.

There are also some weaknesses of transformational leadership such as its idealistic background and the fact that it may not be as applicable in emergency situations in an organisation. Nonetheless, it is a useful theory to know about and the other transformational leadership advantages and disadvantages will be discussed in this article.



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Transactional and Transformational Leadership Theory


Transactional leadership and transformational leadership are two different styles of leadership that are actually quite opposing to each other. Let’s take a look at the differences:

Transactional leadership is concerned with maintaining the status-quo. Disciplinary power is usually strongly enforced and monetary incentives are used as a form of motivation for team members and employees. Rewards are given for performance and this is the driving factor of transactional leadership in ‘keeping the ship afloat’. The main aim is to get day-to-day operations o run smoothly.

Any transformational leadership articles that you read will essentially tell you that a transformational leader is someone who gets a team to the next level of performance and success through inspiration, emotional intelligence and goal-setting. The main components of transformational leadership are team-building, collaboration and motivation- all aspects that are encouraged by using Sinnaps project planning tool. Transformational leadership sets goals for achieving change for the better and push team members or workers to reach their full potential.

Transformational and transactional leadership styles both come with their own advantages and disadvantages and applicability in different contexts. The importance is to understand them in order to apply your leadership style correctly. Transactional leadership is more applicable in contexts where operations need to run smoothly on a constant basis such as a fast-food restaurant. In some other contexts it may actually demotivate employees where encouragement and support are required.

On the other hand, transformational leaders might fall victim to depending too much on passion and emotion that they may to overlook the reality of the organisation and its operational progress. It is important to be flexible in your leadership style and to understand the context f your organisation.


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Transformational Leadership Examples


Transformational leadership is highly important to organisations as the need for change occurring at an ever-growing rate. Let’s take a look at some famous transformational leaders and their transformational leadership examples:

  • Coco Chanel: Coco Chanel was a role model for women in society and in her organisation. Chanel exuberated courage, independence, hard work ethic, persistence, creativity and confidence. Chanel is a great example of a flexible leader who combined an autocratic style with a transformational style and achieved fantastic results.
  • Henry Ford: Ford was a visionary innovator. He was able to combine and adapt existing ideas and inventions to create something useful for people. In order to bring his idea into reality, he inspired and motivated a team of people towards his goal.
  • Elon Musk: Musk leads by example and pushes his team of people towards the same level of excellence that he himself strives for. As a transformational leader, he pushes people to their full potential and even beyond. Musk uses “incredible vision, dedication, and perseverance” to achieve his vision.

These transformational leadership examples in business show the importance of effective leadership as going above and beyond simply looking after day-to-day activities and instead working to lead a team to the next level of success and performance and improving organizational effectiveness through transformational leadership.


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Transformational Leadership Characteristics


Bernard M. Bass developed the concept of transformational leadership further than Burns transformational leadership definition in his book, “Leadership and Performance Beyond Expectations,” written in 1985. The Bass Transformational leadership theory defined the following transformational leadership traits:


    • A leader with integrity
    • A leader that is fair
    • Ability to set clear goals, something that Sinnaps Kanban panel and modernised Gantt-chart can help with.
    • Has high expectations
    • Ability to awake emotions of people
    • Somebody who can get people to look beyond their self-interest


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Overall, transformational leadership is a very interesting leadership theory that could advantage an organisation facing change and in need of motivation and inspiration.

In this article we looked at transformational leadership and organizational culture, examples of transformational leadership in organizations and the various transformational leadership characteristics. Try leading your team and setting goals effectively with Sinnaps project management software today! 😊


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