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PDF Good Intentions Are Not Enough: Transformative Leadership for Communities of Difference

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One of the reasons the trait might have such strong relation to transformational leadership might be its connection with charisma. Agreeableness is tied with individuals who display generosity, co-operation and affection. Extraversion was the most strongly linked personality dimension of transformational leaders. Extraverts are also charismatic and they tend to display strong communication skill, with the ability to persuade people of their vision. Neurotic behaviors tend to cause anxiety, especially in a group setting and therefore, the dimension was the least linked trait with transformational leader.

Transformational leaders are looking to lead a group and not shy away from it. The first step is to learn how to empower other people , which refers to the idea of having the skill to help others build a skill. Your next competency development should focus on the transformational mind-set, i. Again, the key is to create a strong vision and idea of what you want your leadership to look like.

Examine things such as what success and failure mean to you and how you want to lead. Transformational mind-set also requires you to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. As a charismatic leader, you need to enhance your ability to influence people. A great place to start improving this competency is by reading the book The Bases for Social Power by French and Raven. The classic article identifies five forms of power , showcased in the below picture:. Under the model, each system of power will influence your leadership. For a transformational leader the understanding of each power model is important because you might need to implement all of them at one point or another.

The ability to use each power model will need different tactics. On the other hand, coercive power requires the development of authority and the ability to punish people in a fair but concise manner. Once you have your basic needs fulfilled, you need to start working towards the final stage: self-actualization. How can you continue working towards these goals while juggling with work and personal life? Free tools online can provide you the option to focus on self-actualization even during stressful times.

The key to self-development is to understand it is a journey. A journey you can take together with your colleagues and friends. As transformational leadership is about inspiring subordinates to follow the vision of the leader, the framework can be highly fruitful. Nonetheless, while the leadership theory brings plenty of positives to an organization, the framework is not always force for good. Therefore, we will also outline the downside to transformational leadership.

The first clear advantage of transformation leadership is engraved in the name itself: transformation.


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The framework is aimed at creating change, and in business, the need for change is inevitable. As we mentioned earlier in the guide, a stagnant approach to running a business can lead to problems. Examples of this kind of behavior are plentiful. For example, consider the phone giant Nokia. Transformational leadership can remove this behavior from a company, as it puts change and innovation to the core of what the organization does. The reason transformational leadership is effective in implementing change is due to its focus on a clear vision.

A transformational leader is supposed to create a clear vision of the change the organization needs, which will make it easier for the subordinates to follow it. The framework helps an organization define its objectives clearly and create structures that support the vision. Furthermore, the leadership theory tends to strike a balance between short- and long-term objectives. Since the framework focuses on meaningful and achievable objectives, it starts the long-term process by establishing short-term objectives to keep things going.

Transformational leadership adds focus to an organization by understanding the key actions that need to be taken, without forgetting about the future goals the organization wants to achieve. As mentioned above, transformational leadership provides the subordinates with opportunities for growth, both personally and professionally. Transformational leaders need to have integrity and high emotional intelligence. The empathy towards other people can help create meaningful relationships with others and ensure the leader-subordinate relationship is built on mutual respect and trust.

These two qualities are crucial for creating a collaborative environment, which is passionate about achieving tasks.

Good Intentions are not Enough

Ronald E. Subordinates under the leadership style have more support and options for personal development. While they might not be as involved in decision-making as in certain other types, there is still the notion of being part of something. The sense of community is often a powerful motivator for people. In terms of operational efficiency, another big benefit to the style comes from how it creates other leaders with transformational qualities.

Since individuals are using self-motivation and self-actualization as part of their work, they can use these talents to become transformational leaders themselves.

Magnus Green, Executive Coach (Sweden)

In the event of the current leader leaving, the organization might have a line of potential leaders ready to take on the role. Furthermore, the leadership framework emphasizes collaboration instead of personal gains. Psychological studies , such as the Game Theory test, have repeatedly shown that co-operation is more effective in achieving goals compared to a more competitive approach. Since the leadership style is focused on change , it naturally suits organizations that are in need of transformation. Failing businesses, start-ups and companies lacking a vision can benefit immensely from the above advantages.

There are certain problems and disadvantages to the theory as well. Perhaps the main issue deals with the idea that transformational theory would always act as a force for good. In fact, sometimes the transformational leader can make things worse and cause huge suffering within the structure they are hoping to change. An example of this could be Mao Tse Dung.

If you look at his leadership, then it has most of the hallmarks of transformation leadership, yet the changes led to human suffering. This essentially boils down to the problem of defining transformation. What constitutes as transformation?

Even the official MLQ test has trouble clarifying this and the test could potentially suffer from the so-called test effect. The person being tested could see what factors the test is analyzing and looking for, answering with this knowledge in mind. Similar to charismatic leadership, the transformational leader needs to use impression management as a basis for motivating his or her subordinates. There can be a danger to become more concerned about the protection of self-image and self-promotion that the support and empowerment of subordinates fades into the background.

Transformational leadership is not an easy leadership style to implement or master.

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It can take plenty of experience to become truly good at creating meaningful change and therefore, teaching and learning this style can be difficult. The person needs to spend enough time understanding the concepts, gaining enough knowledge on leadership and different industries, and developing emotional intelligence. The process can therefore seem overwhelming and people might find it more comfortable to result to other types of leadership models.

Overall, for the leadership style to work and provide the above advantages, the leader must have the right characteristics detailed in the previous section.

Intergenerational learning and transformative leadership for sustainable futures

Thus, the pressure on the leader to achieve and to be able to motivate all of his or her subordinates is rather high. Since transformational leadership is such a powerful force for change, history has seen its fair share of transformational leaders. Leaders in sports, politics, religion and business have used the transformational style to implement their visions and change the structures around them.

Examining these leaders can help understand the frameworks and characteristics of this leadership style in detail. William Edwards Deming is not your ordinary politician or a business guru. Yet, he showed tremendous leadership qualities during his time at the US Department of the Army after the war.

In , Deming received a doctorate in mathematics and physics from Yale. He became known for his work with the US government and as the father of statistical quality control. When World War II was ravaging the globe, Deming helped teach statistical process control techniques to military production employees in order to improve the production and help the war effort. He was determined to change the inefficient structures and make sure everything was done to enhance the support of the troops.

Once the war ended, the US government sent him to solve problems relating to agricultural production in Japan. The quotes perfectly capture ideas of the transformational leadership. The framework is about creating a vision and the world has to constantly be willing to change in order to become better.

Another obvious example of a transformational leader is the great Nelson Mandela. Mandela transformed a whole society and he did it with forgiveness and love.