Transformational leadership is a process in which “leaders and followers help each other to advance to a higher level of morale and motivation” (Burns, 1978). The degree to which a leader articulates a vision that is appealing and inspiring to followers. Leaders with inspirational motivation challenge followers with high standards, communicate optimism about future goals, and provide meaning for the task at hand. Followers need to have a strong sense of purpose if they are to be motivated to act; purpose and meaning provide the energy that drives a group forward.
The visionary aspects of leadership are supported by communication skills that make the vision understandable, precise, powerful, and engaging. The followers are willing to invest more effort in their tasks; they are encouraged and optimistic about the future and believe in their abilities. Inspirational motivation refers to leaders motivating their followers by viewing the future with optimism, projecting an idealized and achievable vision and stressing ambitious goals.
“Transformational leadership becomes the motor and transmitter of innovative culture and of the dissemination of knowledge oriented to seeking the best possible organizational performance” (Garcia-Morales, Jimenez-Barrionuevo, Gutierrez-Gutierrez, 2012). According to Burns (1978) transformational leadership is defined as a leadership approach that causes change in individuals and social systems; it creates valuable and positive change in the followers with the end followers with the end goal of developing followers into leaders.
Transformational leadership impacts one’s self growth, it helps transform members of a group into individuals who transcend beyond self-actualization and their own self-interests for the sake of the group or organization and moral development. It also develops followers who can perform beyond their own and other’s expectations. According to Bass (1999) transformational leadership can be applied to a variety of settings, it is more effective than transactional leadership; it can effectively be applied to militaristic, industrial, hospital, educational and businesses settings. “Transformational leadership can improve the capability of a sales force, help a company reshape its image in the marketplace and create a positive environment for employees” (Bass 1999).
Transformational leadership enhances followers’ capacity to think on their own, develop new ideas, and question outmoded operating rules; a major goal of transformational leaders is to develop follower self-management and self-development. Transformational leadership can augment the development of human resources and their performance in a variety of organizational contexts. (Avolio, B.J., Bass, B.M.)
What is the impact of the transformational leadership style on organizational outcomes? Transformational leadership theory is a prominent representative of the new theories that have occupied center stage in leadership in the last two decades; follower development and follower performance are the targeted outcome, “Transformational leadership has been shown to have a positive relationship with performance” (Lowe, Kroeck & Sivasubramaniam, 1996). It inspires followers to accomplish more by concentrating on the follower’s values and helping the follower align theses values with the organization; the main purpose of this is for the follower to accomplish more than what they planned for (Krishnan, 2005).
According to Hatter & Bass, transformational leadership influences follower satisfaction, commitment to the organization and organizational change. In turn, this may impact and stimulate employee’s behavior for a better outcome. Research has shown transformational leaders affect organizational outcomes such as organizational citizenship behavior, commitment, job satisfaction, effort, and in-role performance. These leaders encourage subordinates by motivating, inspiring them to achieve organizational goals and by helping them to imagine pleasing future results.
What is the impact of the transformational leadership style on the personal outcomes of the follower? (Givens, 2008) Studies have shown transformational leadership is connected to personal outcomes; transformational leaders inspire their followers to go above and beyond their own self-interest for the sake of the organization as a whole. As a result, these leaders are able to bring a deeper insight and appreciation of input received from each member. “Transformational leaders encourage followers to think critically and look for new approaches to do their jobs” (Bass, 1985). This will motivate them to be more involved in their task that will help increase the level of satisfaction of their work and commitment to the organization.
Transformational leaders help followers grow and develop into leaders by responding to individual followers’ needs, by empowering them and by aligning the objectives and goals of the individual followers, the leader and the organization. Transformational leadership is positively related to a subordinate’s perceptions of leader effectiveness and higher level of motivation; organizations need transformational leadership to improve their performance in changing real-life business environments.