Transformational Leadership is one of the topics I love to read about. I would love to call myself a transformational leader, but I fear I have much work to do before I can say that I am transformational in my leadership style.
Transformational leadership is a term coined by James McGregor Burns in 1978. Bernard Bass and Bruce Avolio took the concept and did a lot of research in the whole realm of transformational leadership at SUNY Binghamton. Bass died last year and Avolio is now in Kansas.
Transformational leadership is a style of leadership where one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality. A transformational leader helps her followers lay aside their agendas and needs for the greater need and vision of the organization. And in so doing the followers have an impact on the leader as well. In fact we’ll find that both follower and leader grow through this process of leading transformationally.
So what are the four I’s?
- Idealized Influence: It provides vision and a sense of vision for those who follow the transformational leader. In a real sense Jesus was a transformational leader and embodied all of these, but this one seems best to track in Scripture. In Philippians 2 we see the Apostle Paul writing that we should have the mind and attitude that Christ had, although he is King of the universe, He took on the form of a servant for our benefit. He embodies what He calls us to do. If you are going to be a transformational leader you must model the very behaviour and thoughts you are challenging your followers to live.
- Inspirational Motivation:
Tomorrow we’ll pick up with the second I. Fooled you didn’t I? Thought we’d cover all four today? Not so. We’ll take this slowly so we can think through what each I means for us. In fact after the second I we’ll discuss what those two I’s contribute to transformational leadership when they are used together in a strong way, so this is the beginning of a five part posting.
I hope we can all grow in our understanding of how we can lead in transforming organizations, and our followers, as well as experiencing transformation ourselves.
That’s this leader’s view.