Leadership Critique – Transformational And Transactional Leadership


The type of leadership in an organization determines how far that organization can go regarding its set goals and objectives. The management is most important part of an organization that provides leadership to the subordinates through the various communication channels. The management may pass various instructions to the supervisor, managers or directors who then pass the information to their departments up to the workers at the lowest level. How the instructions are carried out through the various levels of the organization. Therefore, from the above communication and interactions in the organization one can notice the aspect of leadership and authority in the organization. The various people handling the employees at different levels have to lead their departments and usually use various leadership models that are set by the management. The leadership directs the whole organization, and if those in the management have no vision, then the company is bound to fail. If the management has a vision, they will help the company move in that direction to achieve the desired results. As such, it is important to look at the various leadership models that are in place and choose the best that will help in achieving the specific purpose set by the organization or business (Van Eeden et al., 2008). The way a leadership in the organization leads the employees determines the effectiveness and motivation of the workforce and the efficiency in operations. Leadership is, therefore, an aspect of management that should be closely monitored to ensure that those in authority carry out their tasks efficiently. The various leadership models that the paper will deal with are Transformational And Transactional Leadership.

Transformational leadership

Transformation leadership is leadership that leads to changes in the social systems and the workforce of businesses. Transformational leadership as the name suggests aims to bring major changes to the workplace to ensure that the various work processes are carried out smoothly. The name further implies that the leadership engages in transforming the organization for concerning making improvement in the organization. The main aim of transformational leadership is to change the various structures in place to foster more improvement and bring about changes in the people that are positive and benefit them at the workplace whereby they enable them to increase productivity and thus benefit the company as a result (Gumusluoglu & Ilsev, 2009).

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It focuses on the workforce and on how it can make the various individuals in an organizational not only followers but also leaders. It, therefore, acts as a transformative process for the both the organization and the leadership in bringing changes that have vast and far-reaching effects on the company’s performance. The effective use of transformation leadership brings about heightened morale, motivation and the eventually improved performance of the followers by the use of various mechanisms. The various mechanism includes linking the follower’s sense of identity to the collective identity and mission of the business. Also the leadership acts as a role model to the followers in inspiring them in the process, and further challenging and encouraging followers to play a greater role in their workplace by creating a sense of ownership in them for the work they do. The leaders further identify their strong and weak areas of the followers and further help them by improving their various their skills through various training and development sessions (Zagoršek, 2009).

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Transactional leadership

It is further important to look at another leadership model used by most business in boosting productivity and which differs greatly from transformational while sharing only a few similarities. The model focusses mostly on what it can get out of the employees without focusing on the wellbeing of the employees. The name transaction comes into play where the leadership transacts with the employees for their services (Gong, 2009). The leadership model in question is the transactional leadership model.  Transactional leadership is another model that is used in organizations help improve performance and boost productivity. Transactional leadership is result oriented and usually aligns with an organization structure in addition to the measure of success about the system of punishments and rewards. Transactional leaders utilize their formal authority in the business especially their positions where they are responsible for the organization. The leader usually maintains various constant practices in the organizations by ensuring that the various individuals perform to the level set or expected of them and thereby managing the performance of the individual and facilitating the performance of different teams in the organization (Pieterse, 2010). The leaders in the organization put in place various principles that their subordinates should follow in addition to the requirement spelled out in their work. The leaders review the performance of their workers to judge their performance. Transactional leadership is good for workers who are proficient at doing their jobs and who only get motivation by the reward and punishment method set by the organization. Transactional according to max weber was the use of control in based on knowledge. The leadership style usually encompasses a give and take relationship whereby one group determine what the other will receive by judging their performance. The leadership, therefore, entails an exchange process where workers are given something so that they can provide for want the leaders want. Transactional tends to imply that workers are not usually naturally motivated and need constant monitoring, instructions and structure to ensure that they complete their work accurately and punctually. James Burns had a different view of how the transactional leadership should be conducted and noted that the leaders should manage workers fairly, honestly and honor the various commitments they make.

Burns further notes Avery important aspect in transformational leadership whereby in his model where leaders and workers focus on achieving higher states of motivation and morale. As such, the leaders do not impose on the workers but work in promoting an environment that will motivate and increase the morale of the workers, which is not the case in transactional leadership. An employee who is motivated and has his or her morale boosted operates at a high optimum level in the workplace that one who is not motivated. Leadership in not all about pushing people through working them like donkeys to achieve more but by making the employees self-driven and thus more adept at carrying out the various tasks (Ruggieri, 2009).  The highly motivated environment in transformation leadership brings about a great change in the organization since all the workers are leaders in their workstations and have the best internets of the organization at heart. Such workers are highly motivated and as such they aim at all costs and as much as they can to ensure that, the company follows a path of success if the leadership implements the style effectively. Transactional leadership, on the other hand, focuses on the usages of bureaucratic systems imposed on the workers by the various leaders who ensure that the works be up to standard or face consequences by the systems put in place by the organization. Such a leadership process presents a harsh environment that regards workers as machines who do not have no rights and have to conform to rules without asking or protesting. Such a leadership style focusses only on the output of the employee without considering the worker himself. As such most of the workers under such a leadership style are mostly demotivated and do not have the purpose and even the sense of belonging to the organization. The works usually perfume their duties for the sake of earning a living and may to other organization if given an opportunity especially when there are lucrative offers. The workers receive no motivation to develop themselves and, therefore, they remain at one level that is detrimental to their work functioning. The leadership, therefore, focusses on attaining excellent at all costs. Transformation leadership focusses on both aspects of the workers wellbeing considering the best interests of the business by improving eh ability of the work to function and thus become better at his workplace, and contributing to the development and motivation of the worker. Such a leadership style aims for to produce an excellent workforce in an organization that is self-motivated and that is well strategically placed to bring all efforts on board for the benefit of the leadership and the organization at large. The transactional leadership in focusing on the work apart from the worker leaves the employee at the mercy of deprivation in the development of his thought processes. Furthermore, such a worker may not effectively carry out tasks that require intelligent efforts. Such a leadership style is, therefore, detrimental to the wellbeing of the worker. The workers in such an environment cannot pursue higher professional careers as they are limited to their level of skills from the onset of their careers under such transactional leadership models (Wang et al., 2011). Such workers will tend to look unto the management in engaging them in rewards or penalties. The workers, therefore, develop various attitudes in accordance to how they are treated at work. One may group may have the best performers while another maintains the status quo. As a result, people who are under Transactional leaders tend to have a formed mind that has been developed over a long period to operate like robots.

Transformational leadership has many merits that include the working of employees. The employees usually aim for the sky and even beyond in their performance. They aim to outperform themselves. The company in developing them and helping them tap their potential increase its profitability margins and ensures that the organization performs optimally (Haider & Riaz, 2010). Research has confirmed the outstanding results in organizations with transformation leadership as being true. Such leadership can be evident in the military where platoon leaders motivate their cadets by using transformation leadership. The results from various platoon under the transformational leaders surpass those that were in the control groups.  On another hand, transactional leadership usually benefits the organization in achieving specific goals of the organization. If the model proposed by James Barnes is used it will increase the performance in such organization as the workers will be treated more respectable than with the current state of transformational leadership. Transactional leadership is mostly beneficial to multinationals who have many operations in foreign companies. The workers have diverse cultures and backgrounds and may find it difficult to work without supervision if there are no defined procedures put in place. The simple nature of transactional leadership, therefore, works easily in this process that the complex transformational leadership. The employees thus follow it easily throughout the organization. Other organization that benefit from transactional leadership are the policing, military and security agencies and organizations. The style ensures that there is consistency throughout the whole organization; as such, everyone has to know what to do in a certain situation especially when one is under pressure. Therefore, various places require the use of transaction leadership due to their nature of business like the multinationals.

In the various organizations that I have worked, I found much organization use the transactional model of leadership. The jobs as such have a certain way of doing operations according to the requirement demanded by the management. Some of the industries have a lot of controlling and a worker gets pay according to the work he or she has done. There are fewer companies that exhibit transformational leadership especially those that I have had a chance to work in. Leadership in an organization from my experience in the various organizations is to further the interests of the company first and then the employees later. Most of the employees, as a result, do not feel like part of the organization and may only be present physically and not holistically. A leadership structure according to my point of view should have the interests of the workers at hand. Leadership is only successful when those whom one leads become more successful than the leader. Leadership would thus have achieved its goal. People are led to bring the best out of them. As such, various leadership styles have tried to remove some aspects of leadership and emphasized on other to suit their interests. Transformation leadership as seen above aims to bring out the full potential of the worker (Asgari, 2008). The workers are provided a fertile environment to excel exceedingly without limiting their potential. Though most companies use transactional leadership, it has proven to be effective in the end on the part of the business but not the employees. The organization can, therefore, stress various performance strategies at the expense of the worker. Every person has a leadership potential that can be discovered through training or motivation among other factors. Once the leadership potential of someone is tapped, such a person can achieve milestones. Suppressing the leadership role in passing results in disastrous. Companies who hope to be effective in the business environment should, therefore, focus on leadership potential of the workers and the development of his personality as a whole (Nielsen et al., 2008). Companies should thus change their mentality especially in choosing their leadership models to not only focus on achieving profitability at all costs but also focusing on the development of the workers who will eventually develop the company in the end.


From the leadership theories above we see that there are various aspects associated with every leadership style. Leadership is mostly emulative and if one is a bad leader, the workers may not want to emulate him or her but may follow in their ways especially in the employees treat their colleagues or their subordinates. Good leadership has various traits that exhibit diligences, the need to surpass one’s potential and to contribute greatly to a certain venture and eventual outperforming oneself. Developing such traits in leadership is very important. The leaders are not only there to constantly watch the workers but are there to work with them and to help the improve. Therefore, leadership should not just be looked at as having authority over others but in making others perform according to their potential while at the same time encouraging them to do better. This shows that the organizations should put in place leaders who are molded or have the necessary leadership skills to help in making the employees work more effectively and produce more output in the organization. Also, we see that employees are in the middle of the leadership and the output. How the leadership attains its goals in making profitability through workers determines whether its leadership is a transaction or transformational. Companies should thus focus on the employees in their organization and on ensuring that the company does not make a profit at the expense of the employees who form a vital part of the organization. Furthermore, employees without motivation produce less, and some maintain the status quo is hence making the companies work at an average or below average level. As such, it is important for leaders to treat their subordinates in a respectable manner. Thus, leadership should be directed towards improving not only the organization’s performance but by ensuring the holistic growth of the organization and the employees at different levels in the department. Making leaders of the workers at the workplace is more effective than placing stringent practices in the workplace.

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