Transformational leaders hold positive expectations for followers, believing that they can do their best. As a result, they inspire, empower, and stimulate followers to exceed normal levels of performance.
Transformational leaders also focus on and care about followers and their personal needs and development.
Transformational leaders fit well in leading and working with complex work groups and organizations, where beyond seeking an inspirational leader to help guide them through an uncertain environment, followers are also challenged and feel empowered; this nurtures them into becoming loyal, high performers.
There are 4 components to transformational leadership
Sometimes referred to as the 4 I’s, they include:
Idealized Influence (II) – the leader serves as an ideal role model for followers; the leader “walks the talk,” and is admired for this.
- Inspirational Motivation (IM) – Transformational leaders have the ability to inspire and motivate followers.
Combined, those first two I’s are what constitute the transformational leader’s charisma.
Then, there are:
- Individualized Consideration (IC) – Transformational leaders demonstrate genuine concern for the needs and feelings of followers. This personal attention to each follower is a key element in bringing out their very best efforts.
- Intellectual Stimulation (IS) – the leader challenges followers to be innovate and creative. A common misunderstanding is that transformational leaders are “soft,” but the truth is that they constantly challenge followers to higher levels of performance.
Transformational leadership is said to have occurred when engagement in a group results in leaders and followers raising one another to increased levels of motivation and morality.
Five major personality traits have been identified in transformational leaders.
These five traits are:
- Openness to experience
Studies have shown that transformational leadership styles are associated with positive outcomes in relation to other leadership styles. Other studies show that transformational leadership is positively associated with employee outcomes including commitment, role clarity, and well-being.