Transformation  Leadership Theories




Write about Transformation leadership theories.



In the modern organizations the need and importance of leaderships found at every level. The business environment is highly dynamic in nature and it makes the organizations various situations where the challenges can be handled the support of appropriate leadership guidance. The role and importance of leadership is also highly remarkable in case of project management. There are many leadership theories of which Transformational Leadership has been the main focus of discussion. 

Leadership Theory:

Main aspects of Transformational leadership theory:

James MacGregor Burns have proposed the concept of Transformational Leadership Theory. He was a political sociologist. The theory has thrown light on the fact there should be a connection and bonding between the leaders and the followers. This bonding results into increased motivation of the ones who follow the leaders and the desired goals are conveniently and rightly achieved. Transformational leadership is engaged in transforming people. The main focus of this theory is on some of the key elements which are setting objectives, emotions, ethics, standards and values. The transformational leaders have the capacities to motivate the followers so that they could achieve more than what they expect to achieve (Burns, 1978). The theory has highlighted that the influence of the transformational leaders motivate the followers who get convinced and motivated. The transformational leaders are capable of inspiring the followers with their attractive nature and qualities. These leaders their vision and motivate others with their energy and enthusiasm. They are the change agents who make the change management and change implementation a successful and desirable process in the organizations (Reynolds, 2015).
The transformational leadership the leaders control their emotions and ego and do not let them interfere and coincide with the interests of the others. The leaders know how to conduct self-management and inspire others in pursuing self-management. They make the followers able to accept challenges and risks and to overcome them with skills and abilities. They also make difficult decisions and ensure best outcomes to result in. To transformational leaders the collective organizational consciousness is the most important aspect. They get connected with the members of the teams and motivate them to think for the broader goal and objectives beyond their own goals. In the organizations the transformational leadership enable the employees to take right actions in pursuing their tasks. The transformational leaders inspire others. They cultivate new ideas and entertain new creative ideas coming from the followers. In case of change management the role of transformational leaders is very significant as they transform people and make them adapt the changes (Reynolds, 2015). They are always ready to accept new ideas and changes in the dynamic scenario of the business. They are proactive in every aspect and they always lead with clear vision. The transformational leaders always frame clear and achievable visions which could be reached. They derive commitment from the followers. The business organizations are well-guided by the style of leadership of transformational leaders and this makes the entire organization to achieve the desired outcomes and objectives. The sharing of common values and vision helps everyone to remain tuned (Fernandes & Awamleh, 2004). 
The transformational leadership helps the organizations in achieving the performance goals of the employees and that of the entire organization. The employees get highly motivated by the transformational leadership and they voluntarily commit towards the achievement of the common goals and objectives of the organization. The transformational leaders develop the followers in such the most effective ways so that they could achieve the desired level of performance and productivity through their contributions.

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Transformational leadership theory supporting contemporary project leaders in overcoming challenges:

Project leaders face several challenges. These challenges sometime affect the entire organization badly. Right leadership can help the leaders to get rid of the issues and to ensure desired quality of the projects. The issues or the challenges that are commonly faced by the contemporary project leaders and the ways the transformational leadership can help them to overcome such challenges have been mentioned below:
•    The greatest challenge for the project leaders is to handle the resistance to change. The leaders have to understand the ways through which the employees and other members of the organizations could resist changes. In some cases the leaders find it difficult to bring the employees and members of the organizations on board to accept and undergo changes. The transformational leadership plays an important role in making the leaders able to handle changes and to motivate the employees to overcome such resistance and to become an active participant in the change management. The true essence of the transformational leadership lies in the power and ability of the leaders in transforming people. This is quite significant in the change situations when the employees need to change their views and perceptions about changes and to positively participate in the change management practices. The transformational leadership makes the leaders understand that it is very important for them to ensure instil confidence and persistence among the employees so that they can help the change implementation successfully and effectively (Keegan & Hartog, 2004).
•    The contemporary project leaders face the cross-cultural challenges in the dealing with different project teams where the members can be from different cultural backgrounds. The cultural diversity bring in differences in the skills of the members of the teams and there the issue or challenges of managing and identifying varied skills can arise which in turn can result into uneven performances. The transformational leadership helps in enabling the project leaders to be capable of identifying the varied sets of skills of the members of project teams. The varied skills of the members of the teams if get identified and the challenge of uneven performance can be ruled out. The transformational leaders through communication and interaction with the members of the teams identify their strengths and weaknesses and motivate them and train them so that they share common goals and values leaving behind the cultural differences. This transformation helps the project team members to become more effective and committed (Muenjohn & Armstrong, 2007). 
•    Another big challenge for the contemporary project leaders is the challenge of technology. The project leaders are highly impacted by the new and modern technologies. The increase in the technological elements and the means of communication in the marketing strategies and activities impact the project operations. The project leaders are left with many alternative options which are because of the technological changes. The transformational leadership helps in understanding the importance of sharing common goals with all other departments or business operations of the project organizations. The collective efforts of the leaders in making dealing with the challenges definitely impact the project outcomes (Campbell, 2010).
•    The project leaders have to be responsive to the changes in the strategies from top management. They have to deal with the unpopular business direction and dissatisfaction of the consumers. Sometimes the leaders face the issues because of unclear ethical standards of the management. The employees face the consequences of the management decisions and they are often dishonoured. The employees sometimes face the issues of lack of faithfulness from their superiors. The project leaders have to deal with these challenges. The transformational leadership helps the project to keep the employee morale higher. It helps the employees to get directed towards right channels where they get proper guidance of their superiors. The ethical standards are also encouraged by the transformational leadership. 
•    The project leaders often face the challenge of lack of motivation of their employees which lead them to accomplish their commitments towards the organizations and the projects. The transformational leadership helps the project leaders to understand that the employees need motivation incentive to develop or grow themselves. The project leaders can provide ample motivation to the employees by empowering them. They can show positive reinforcement and can support them in sharing common goals. Through each and every interaction within the organization the power is exercised. The employees need some independence where they can get empowered and feel honoured. The transformational leadership believes that empowering employees will ultimately transform them into better and efficient employees who would be able to accomplish the tasks with zeal and will remain committed towards the achievement of common goals. 
•    The project leaders sometimes face the challenge where they try to accomplish the objectives of the projects which are beyond the actual objectives. The budget gets affected. The resource allocation becomes an issue in such a situation. The transformational leadership helps in setting realistic and achievable objectives which could be achieved or attained conveniently.
•    The project leaders in many cases have found it difficult to work with different teams. The transformational leadership encourage communication and interaction between the team members being empathic to them and to understand each one of the members. It assists the leaders to understand the skills of each member and to arrange for the required facilitation of training and knowledge so as to fill the gaps in the skills. The members are developed and transformed in the process. 
•    There are different types of risks associated with the projects. The risk management is one of the most important tasks of the project leaders. There can be many other risks associated with the project handling. The risks could be adverse for the project outcomes or can pose serious financial losses to the entire organization. The risk management is one of the major challenges to the project leaders. There can be conflicts among the project team members. Transformational leadership can help the project leaders with the ideas of collecting information and developing trust, it can also help in developing trust and anticipating the particular areas of the project which could fail. This helps the leaders to take proper risk mitigation steps beforehand and during the events. Transformational leadership has been highly praised for its capability for ensuring win-win situation in conflict management and thus enabling the project leaders to be able to accept and take risks for better outcomes. The project leaders could also develop contingency plans with clear definitions (Sahu & Pathardikar, 2015). 

Personal Reflection:

a) Identify one (1) specific experience that you have had in the past that has been particularly meaningful to you and discuss how it has shaped how you think about project 

I can relate to one of my experiences as a trainee in my organization that has changed my conception and perception of projects completely. I was working under my reporting manager as a new joiner in my organization. At that time our department was given a project that needed to be finished within an extremely short deadline. The other teams did not approve of the project as their reporting managers were not confident enough that they and their teams could complete the project within the stipulated deadline that was extremely difficult to be achieved. Even, I thought that this project could not be completed within the given deadline in any way with the resources our team had at that point of time. I was surprised to see that my manager accepted the project from the Regional Manager and he assured him that his team could pull the project off within the given deadline. This decision made me and my peers feel extremely apprehensive and anxious about the chances of success in the said project. In this instance I observed the demonstration of Transformational Leadership from my manager (Burns, 1978). He conducted an immediate meeting with all of us and briefed us about the project and its objectives. More importantly, he empathetically listened to our opinions and participated in a constructive discussion about the project. He mentored us and through his enigmatic charisma and leadership guised us effectively by allocating different tasks to us depending on our own skills and experience. 
He called for teamwork and he monitored and evaluated the progress of our team. Whenever any one of us were doing something wrong or were feeling demotivated, he would take up the task himself and lead by example and ensure that the task was completed. Thus, our manager can be rightly referred to as Transformational Leader who knew how to face challenges and get the entire team work sincerely behind achieving them. To our surprise when the deadline was nearing we felt optimistic about finishing the project within the deadline which we previously thought to be impossible. Thus, the most significant learning for me from this project has been that effective leadership and trust on team members can create a positive work culture that motivates and drives teams towards achieving the most difficult of projects (Hanks, 2017).

b) Identify one (1) incident in the past where you have personally demonstrated leadership

The incident that I am going to discuss here is one that I had as an experienced employee in my organization. I was working as the Senior Marketing Manager in the company. It was nearing the end of the financial year and our team had to achieve a large target in order to be at par with the yearly target that was attributed to our department. We were running behind the target and had one week before the closure of the financial year. The product that we were selling was life insurance policies to the clients. The general guideline for the sales executives was to first fix up appointments with prospective clients over telephone and then visit them at their desired time and location. But, since it was late for us and we did not have much time to waste behind telephone calls for fixing appointments and therefor I needed to devise a strategy that will do something unique and give our department a positive chance of achieving the yearly target. 
I, being the leader of the department, suggested to all my subordinates to start doing cold calls by visiting various residential and commercial apartments in their respective localities instead of coming to office daily. I knew that it was only through increasing our customer visits that we can achieve the target. I even accompanied many of my subordinates to important client visits. This approach paid off and we were finally able to achieve around 110% of our yearly target finally. Our department won the award of best performer as a result of this dedicated and sincere effort. My ability to demonstrate this form of leadership was possible owing to my previous experience of observing others demonstrate exemplary leadership in my organization. I was inspired by them and always learnt from them about becoming a better leader with each passing day (Think Marketing, 2017).


The business environment is highly dynamic in nature and it compels the project leaders to consider such changes in the project so that the outcomes can become desirable. In course of business there can be several challenges that the project managers face. •    Some projects demand challenging skills and it becomes difficult for the project leaders to decide for the right skill and competencies to get selected for the best outcomes. The project leaders have to select the ones who already have required skills. The transformational leadership provides the analytical power to the project leaders to identify the right skills for right tasks. The role of transformational leadership is found to be highly remarkable and commendable for the organizations. 


Burns, J. M. (1978). Burns Transformational Leadership Theory . 
Campbell, A. (2010, december 31). Greatest Leadership Challenges Facing Today's Project Managers. Retrieved from brighthubpm:
Fernandes, C., & Awamleh, R. (2004). The impact of transformational and transactional The impact of transformational and transactional performance: an empirical test in a multicultural environment. International Business & Economics Research Journal Volume 3, Number 8;, 65-74.
Hanks, G. (2017). Difference Between Transformational & Transactional Leadership. Retrieved from
Keegan, A. E., & Hartog, D. N. (2004). Transformational leadership in a project-based environment: a comparative study of the leadership styles of project managers and line managers. International Journal of Project Management 22 , 609–617.
Muenjohn, N., & Armstrong, A. (2007). Transformational Leadership: The influence of culture on the leadership behaviours of expatriate managers. Transformational Leadership: The influence of culture on the leadership behaviours of expatriate managers Volume 2, Number 2, 264-283.
Reynolds, G. A. (2015, october 28). Transformational Leadership and Organizational Change. Retrieved from psu:
Sahu, S., & Pathardikar, A. (2015). MANAGING CONFLICT THROUGH TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP IS COLLABORATIVE STYLE .... Delhi Business Review ? Vol. 16, No. 1, 59-73.
Think Marketing. (2017). 4 Leadership Lessons from Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google. Retrieved from

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