Transformational Leadership: How to Motivate & Inspire Teams - Deepstash

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Transformational Leadership

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leaders are those who engage with followers to raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality.

How do they achieve this? By embodying an inspiring vision in order to motivate followers to work on shared goals that transcend their self-interest.

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Characteristics and Traits of a transformational leader

  • Extraversion
  • Low neuroticism and high levels of self-efficacy
  • Openness to new experience
  •  Conscientiousness
  • Agreeableness and supportiveness

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Components of transformational leadership: Idealized influence

Transformational leaders set a high standard of moral and ethical conduct to engender loyalty and respect in their followers. One might say they ‘walk the talk’ or lead by example.

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Inspirational motivation

Transformational leaders stimulate the inner emotional worlds of their followers by appealing to higher ideals and values.

They achieve this by tenaciously upholding an inspiring vision linked to clear goals. Rather than obfuscating the vision with jargon, they repeatedly and enthusiastically repeat it to keep it front of mind.

Idealized influence and inspirational motivation are highly correlated, sometimes combined in the research to form the dimension ‘charisma.

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Individualized consideration

Transformational leaders also model concern for their team’s welfare, creating an atmosphere of trust. By coaching and mentoring with empathy, they promote growth and development while garnering meaningful insights into any problems occurring on the ground.

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Intellectual stimulation

Transformational leadership is often juxtaposed with transactional leadership. The latter leaders “cater to their followers’ immediate self-interests” instead of uplifting the morals of their followers through inspiration 

Transformational leaders foster creative, innovative problem solving, as well as a culture that regularly challenges the status quo.

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Transformational Leadership & Emotional Intelligence

EI (Emotional Intelligence) is virtually synonymous with good leadership. There are five elements of emotional intelligence:

  • Self-awareness: The ability to recognize and understand one’s own emotions, as well as one’s effect on other people.
  • Self-regulation: Being able to manage one’s emotions appropriately.
  • Social awareness: Skillful interactions that build meaningful relationships.
  • Empathy: The ability to understand how others are feeling and respond with care.
  • Self-motivation: Being able to harness passion, as opposed to extrinsic incentives, to fulfill one’s inner needs.

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Effectiveness Of Transformational leadership

A large body of evidence shows that transformational leadership positively aligns with how well companies, the military, governmental organizations, educational institutions, and nonprofits perform.

Here are five specific research findings that found a link between transformational leadership and employee/organizational effectiveness:

  •  Team performance
  •  Employee job performance
  • Communication
  • Employee outcomes
  • Inspirational motivation

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Advantages & Disadvantages of Transformational Leadership

Transformational Leadership isn’t a blanket solution to be used in every scenario and across every setting. Some argue that some teams need a more transactional style, meaning closer supervision and greater direction. This might especially be the case when followers are unskilled and require more oversight.

Transformational leadership is also more effective when applied in smaller, privately held organizations compared to larger, more complex ones

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Criticisms of Transformational Leadership

  •  Limited interest in group-level processes
  • Ambiguity about transformational behaviors
  • Ambiguity about transactional leadership
  • Omission of important behaviors
  •  Insufficient specification of situational variables
  • Insufficient identification of negative effects
  • Heroic leadership stereotype

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Applying Transformational Leadership in Healthcare

Five key elements of optimum leadership in healthcare settings:

  • Inspiring visions at every level, along with upholding a shared, holistic view of care
  • Clear, aligned objectives for all teams, departments, and individual staff
  • Supportive and enabling people management and high levels of staff engagement
  • Learning, innovation, and quality improvement embedded in the practice of all staff
  • Effective teamwork

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