James Macgregor Burns: The Two Leadership Theories

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When you think of the term leader, what comes to mind? Do you immediately think of someone who bossed you around and told you what to do and how to do it? Or is a leader someone who pushed you to be a better employee, athlete, or teammate? In this paper, I am going to discuss two different types of leadership and how they affect a specific work setting. James Macgregor Burns was the founder of the two leadership theories, Transactional and Transformational. These two leadership theories were first introduced by burns in a research paper he had written on political leaders. (Anonymous, 2000). Burn’s research would go on to be the driving force used in organizational psychology. Burns narrowed down his research down to characteristics …show more content…
This leadership theory was first introduced by James Burns in 1947. “Transactional leadership involves motivating and directing followers primarily through appealing to their own self-interest”. (MSG Professionals, 2016). When I read this definition of Transactional leadership my first thought is a reward system. Appealing to one’s own self-interest means that the leader will try and persuade their employees with something that they want. This can be anything from a pay raise to an extra vacation day. Transactional leaders aren’t looking to further the future of a company but rather keep it’s day to day operations running smooth. These leaders work at the basic levels of need satisfaction. They give rewards for good work or positive outcomes. They also punish poor work or negative outcomes, until the problem is corrected. Transactional leaders push for specific task performance. They are exquisite in getting specific tasks completed to keep everyday activities running along. If I were a supervisor who wanted to apply this theory of Transactional leadership I would first have to be in a specific setting. Let’s say I was a shift supervisor for a telemarketing company. To apply this Transactional theory I would tell each employee on that shift that whoever was able to make 50 calls a day and make contact with 50 different people, would get a 50 cent pay raise. Then I would tell everyone that …show more content…
This theory would emphasize the fact that leaders using this form of leadership should motivate and create an identity within the organization. Transformational leadership is a form of leadership that is usually identified in top level managers working within the C-suite. They have a vision for the company and thrive in strategic planning. Managers who practice the Transformational concept will not dictate what the employees do, but guide them and motivate them to reach their highest potential. “Leaders and followers make each other advance to a higher level of moral and motivation” (Cherry, 2016). Much like a captain of a sports team, a transformational leader is someone who is looked up to. He or she has the understanding and humility to put the employees first so that the company can grow. They lead by example and have integrity. Always inspiring and pushing employees. An example of this leadership in a workplace would be a new CEO coming into a company and returning it to profitability. He or she would be someone who would come into this old company and give it new light. Bring in new processes or ideas. They would also start with getting to know each individual employee on a personal level in order to push them to their highest potential. In their classic text, Transformational Leadership, authors Bass and Riggio explained: “Transformational leaders…are those who stimulate and inspire followers to both

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