1-2 pages, APA format, 2 scholarly resources (one from textbook)…
Why is Transformational Leadership theory of leadership most accurately explains effective leadership in your opinion? Does the peer-reviewed literature agree with your opinion? If so, how? If not, why not?
Some people have an extraordinary ability to inspire others and bring forth loyalty. A person who has such a personality is said to have charisma. The German sociologist Max Weber explains in his Theory of Social and Economic Organization: “The term ‘charisma’ applies to a certain quality that causes one to be set apart from ordinary people and to be treated as endowed with superhuman, or at least exceptional, powers or qualities. In this sense, charisma is a gift or power of leadership.”21
In 1976 R. J. House published a theory of charismatic leadership that has received a great deal of attention by researchers. He traces the influence of the charismatic leader to a combination of personal characteristics and types of behavior. The characteristics of charismatic leaders include being dominant, ambitious, and self-confident, as well as having a strong sense of purpose.
Charismatic leaders also demonstrate specific types of behaviors: (1) They are role models for the beliefs and values they want their followers to adopt. For example, Gandhi advocated nonviolence and was a role model of civil disobedience. (2) They demonstrate ability that elicits the respect of followers. Leaders in art, science, religion, business, government, and social service influence followers through their personal competence. (3) They have ideological goals with moral overtones. Martin Luther and Martin Luther King both employed this type of charismatic behavior. (4) They communicate high expectations for their followers and show confidence in their ability to meet those expectations. Military history is replete with examples of charismatic war leaders. (5) Charismatic leaders ignite the motives of their followers to take action. Motives and tasks fall broadly into three areas—power, achievement, and affiliation.22
The psychologist David McClelland describes the nature of charismatic leadership:
We set out to find exactly, by experiment, what kinds of thoughts the members of an audience had when exposed to a charismatic leader. They were apparently strengthened and uplifted by the experience; they felt more powerful, rather than less powerful or submissive. This suggests that the traditional way of explaining the influence of leaders has not been entirely correct. The leader does not cause followers to submit and go along by intimidation and force. In fact, the leader is influential by strengthening and inspiring the audience. The personality of the leader arouses confidence in followers, and the followers feel better able to accomplish whatever goals they share with the leader.23
A crisis can create “charisma-hungry” followers who are looking for a leader to alleviate or resolve their dilemma. Some charismatic leaders may create crises to increase followers’ acceptance of their vision, the range of actions they can take, and followers’ level of effort.24 In every walk of life, an individual with charisma may emerge. When this happens, the person is recognized as a leader. See, for example, the account by Willie Davis, all-pro lineman for the Green Bay Packers, which shows how Vince Lombardi exercised tremendous influence in the field of sports because of his charismatic personality. Men played their hearts out for Lombardi. Their goal was to please him, to be equal to their understanding of his values and goals.
Lombardi’s values and goals were clear. He told his players: Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. There is no room for second place. You’ve got to play with your heart and every fiber of your body. I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle- victorious.
The example of Lombardi shows how an individual can generate the respect and following of others through personal charisma. According to Willie Davis, how did Lombardi do this?
• First, he cared. No one was more committed to achieving the goal and winning the game.
• Second, he worked hard. No one worked harder and more diligently to prepare.
• Third, he knew the right answers. He knew the game of football, he knew the teams, and he had a plan to succeed.
• Fourth, he believed. He believed in himself and his players, and that made them believers as well.
• Fifth, he kept the bar high. He had uncompromising standards that raised the pride of his team as they rose to the challenge.
• Sixth, he knew people. He knew how to motivate each of his players, each in his own way.
The term transformational leadership can be used to describe the leadership of individuals such as Vince Lombardi. These leaders use optimism, charm, intelligence, and a myriad of other personal qualities to raise aspirations and transform individuals and organizations into new levels of high performance.28
Although transformational leadership was first discussed by J. V. Downton in 1973, its emergence as an important theory of leadership can be traced to Burns, who distinguished two kinds of leadership: transformational and transactional. Transactional leaders focus on exchanges between leaders and followers. An example is a manager who exchanges pay and promotion for work performed. In contrast, transformational leaders focus on the potentialities of the relationship between the leader and followers. This leader taps the motives of followers to better reach the goals of both. Burns uses Gandhi as an example of transformational leadership because not only did he raise the hopes and demands of millions of his people but in the process was also changed himself. In a similar way, Abraham Lincoln was transformational in American history, serving as a father figure to many people in his day. Indeed, his name, Abraham, literally means “father.”29
In contrast to transactional leaders, who emphasize exchanging one thing for another, such as jobs for votes and rewards for favors, transformational leaders engage the full person of the follower. The result is elevation of the potential of followers and achievement beyond previous expectations.30 Research shows that transformational leadership has a positive effect on performance. Employees with transformational leaders have higher levels of motivation, job performance, and organizational commitment.31 It is important to note that transformational leadership can occur at all levels of an organization, and transformational leaders can emerge in both formal and informal roles.32
An ideal example of a transformational leader is Saint Teresa, whose humanitarian work with India’s sick and poor and founding of the Missionaries of Charity is known throughout the work. Her mission was to care for, in her own words, “the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people who have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone.”33
Manning, G., & Curtis, K. (2019). The art of leadership (6th ed.). NY, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.