Transformational Leadership: Change and Managing Change
Leadership

Transformational Leadership: Change and Managing Change

Transformational leadership theory is all about leadership that creates positive change in the followers, whereby they take care of each other’s interests and act in the importance of the group as a whole. James MacGregor Burns first brought the concept of transformational leadership to prominence in his extensive research into leadership.

“Essentially, the leader’s task is consciousness-raising on a wide plane. The leader’s fundamental act is to induce people to be aware or conscious of what they feel – to feel their true needs so strongly, to define their values so meaningfully, that they can be moved to purposeful action.”

In this leadership style, the leader enhances the motivation, morale, and performance of his follower group. So, according to MacGregor – transformational leadership is all about values and meaning and a purpose that transcends short-term goals and focuses on higher-order needs.

At times of organizational change, and significant step change, people do feel insecure, anxious and low in energy – so in these situations and especially in these difficult times, enthusiasm and energy are infectious and inspiring.

And yet so many organizational changes fail because leaders pay attention to the changes they are facing instead of the transitions people must make to accommodate them.

Transformational Leadership: Change and Managing Change
 

In my view, it is the responsibility of the director leading the change to supply an infusion of positive energy.

The transformational approach also depends on winning the trust of people – which is made possible by the unconscious assumption that they too will be changed or transformed in some way by following the leader.

The transformational approach also depends on winning the trust of people – which is made possible by the unconscious assumption that they too will be changed or transformed in some way by following the leader.

This is often seen in military commanders and wartime political leaders. An example of this would be how Lady Thatcher – as Prime Minister of the UK Government during the Falklands War in 1982 – was able to engender an enhanced feeling of British national identity amongst the UK population.

It sounds like this leadership style is ideally suited to change management, doesn’t it? However, – this approach requires absolute integrity and personal behavior that is consistent and resonant with your vision and message.

I can recall a ridiculous situation, at one UK company I was involved with, where the directors were attempting to effect a culture change of greater inter-departmental trust and communication yet still retained a separate directors dining room and specially allocated car parking places closest to the office front door!

 

 

 

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OK here’s the significant bit – how NOT to apply transformational leadership theory to change management

– Be preoccupied with power, position, politics, and perks
– Stay focused on the short-term
– Be hard data-oriented
– Focus on tactical issues
– Work within existing structures and systems
– Concentrate on getting the job done
– Focus processes and activities that guarantee short-term profits

Doesn’t all this just sound like a description of a typical good project manager with a task-driven mentality?

And hey, I have nothing against this style of leadership and management. There are a time and place for the Attila the Hun school of leadership. I have done it many times myself and very effectively – and with no regrets.

But, this leadership style is not enough in a change management situation and particularly in the current climate.

The four components of the transformational leadership style are:

Transformational Leadership: Change and Managing Change
 

1. Charisma or idealized influence

The degree to which the leader behaves in admirable ways and displays convictions and takes stands that cause followers to identify with the leader who has a clear set of values and acts as a role model for the followers.

2.  Inspirational motivation

The degree to which the leader articulates a vision that is appealing to and inspires the followers with optimism about future goals, and offers meaning for the current tasks in hand.

3.  Intellectual stimulation

The degree to which the leader challenges assumptions, stimulates and encourages creativity in the followers – by providing a framework for followers to see how they connect [to the leader, the organization, each other, and the goal] they can creatively overcome any obstacles in the way of the mission.

4. Personal and individual attention

The degree to which the leader attends to each follower’s needs and acts as a mentor or coach and gives respect to and appreciation of the individual’s contribution to the team. This fulfills and enhances each team members’ need for self-fulfillment and self-worth – and, in so doing, inspires followers to further achievement and growth.

Transformational leadership applied in a change management context is ideally suited to the holistic and broad view perspective of a program based approach to change management and, as such, is a crucial element of successful strategies for managing change.

And, to ensure that you ARE employing successful strategies for managing change – that are appropriate to your organization – you need to know how to apply: (a) these transformational leadership skills AND (b) how to use the supporting program management based processes – to ensure that you avoid the catastrophic 70% failure rate of ALL business change initiatives.

 

 

 

Read more Leadership related stories on The Weekly Trends magazine.

 

 

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Jane Bandoja
Jane Bandoja
I am an apprentice writer in the Leadership category. If you need my service, feel free to reach me out.

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