Transformational Leadership : A Transformational Leader Essay

854 Words Sep 7th, 2015 4 Pages
A511.5.2.DQ - Transformational Leadership

In the 1980s, management researchers became very interested in the emotional and symbolic aspects of leadership. These processes help us to understand how leaders influence followers to make self‐sacrifices and put the needs of the mission or organization above their materialistic self‐interests. Theories of charismatic and transformational leadership describe this important aspect of leadership.

Charisma is a Greek word that means “divinely inspired gift,” such as the ability to perform miracles or predict future events. Weber (1947) used the term to describe a form of influence based not on tradition or formal authority but rather on follower perceptions that the leader is endowed with exceptional qualities. According to Weber, charisma occurs during a social crisis when a leader emerges with a radical vision that offers a solution to the crisis and attracts followers who believe in the vision.

Transformational leadership is another type of theory used to describe how effective leaders inspire and transform followers by appealing to their ideals and emotions. The terms transformational and charismatic are used interchangeably by many writers, but despite the similarities there are some important distinctions.

Much of the thinking about transformational leadership was influenced by James McGregor Burns (1978), who wrote a best‐selling book on political leadership. Burns contrasted transforming leadership with transactional…

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