In organizational behaviour, there are two types of leaders defined.
Transactional leaders coordinate people and operations, and make sure things go smoothly.
Transformational leaders sell an idea and get people to believe in it, work for it and spread it.
Both types are important but I'm really fascinated by transformational leaders.
Transformational leaders sell a vision that is ambitious, but achievable. A project challenging enough to be exciting, but not so improbable that people are discouraged. It's a goal that people can identify with and want to be a part of. Transformational leaders empower and inspire their people. We all know of CEOs and politicians who are such leaders. But is it always the guy at the top who's the transformational leader? How can transformational leadership bring innovation from the bottom up?
Can there be too much transformational leadership? What happens if everyone in an org is a transformational leader? Chaos?
Such are the questions that pop into my head at 2am.
Some papers related to the topic.
The influence of transformational leadership and organizational identification on intrapreneurship
Transformational Leadership and the Falling Dominoes Effect
This investigation examined the practice of tranformational leadership at two levels of management in a New Zealand government agency. Transformational leadership was defined as the extent to which a manager is seen as charismatic, as treating each subordinate as an individual, and as intellectually stimulating. Like falling dominoes, transformational leadership at a higher level of management was expected to appear concomitantly at the next lower level. Analyses of leadership behavior questionnaire data collected independently at the two levels of management generally provided support for this falling dominoes effect. However, one exception was that more charismatic first-level supervisors said they required less charisma in the second- level managers to whom they directly reported. implications were drawn con cerning the importance of developing transformational leadership abilities at upper levels of management to enhance the likelihood of such leadership at lower levels.
A Double-edged Sword: Transformational Leadership and Individual CreativityAs expected, results from a study with 416 R&D employees showed that transformational leadership promotes followers' creativity but at the same time increases followers' dependency which in turn reduces their creativity. This negative indirect effect attenuates the positive influence of transformational leadership on followers' creativity.