Transformational Leadership: Bring the Best Out of Your Team

Imagine yourself in a scenario where you are in a great job, you love your profile, and the pay is huge. But, your manager has you repulsed with their micromanagement skills. Who is only concerned with work getting done and never motivates or appreciates anyone, but themself. 


Now, imagine yourself in a job which is of your liking, and the workflow is large to an extent where it may completely drain you. Yet, working under your manager feels like bliss. This is because they let you take the authority of your work, appreciate your efforts, believe in you, and support you like a mentor.

I am sure you would pretty much be scared of the first thought and delighted by the second. What if I told you while imagining these, you have had a peep into how transactional and transformational leadership look like.

What is Transformational Leadership?

Transformational leadership refers to those qualities in a leader, which enables them to bring out the best in people. Such leaders not only recognize the zeal to work in their subordinates but also help to maintain it throughout, and they lead by example. Many other such characteristics make a person or a leader a transformational leader. The leaders who consider the entire team as one unit, yet observe, monitor, and feel responsible for them is already halfway there. Having a sense of concern towards your subordinates makes you a person who is not there just for self-benefit.

Your highly ethical and logical life is the real mantra behind setting excellent examples for your team to follow. One can't just sit there and say it all out but not do anything in person. Your achievements ought to be out there to give them a directive. And for that, you are expected to be highly skilled at what you do. Upskill your career at every opportunity you get. While this is about technicality, a person's moral values and high spirits also play a vital role in order to set clear priorities.

Encouraging open communication is also important. It will help the leader and their team to understand what is expected of them.

Though all these characteristics sound life-changing, it is for the common good of the company and every individual in the team. This does not point towards you micromanaging the team. Instead, create an environment where everyone's comfortable. Have faith in them, communicate, and closely monitor to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each individual. This will increase the focus of the team in producing the desired output with the utmost satisfaction.

"Time is money," they say, and sometimes pay is not the only way to recognize their effort.  You need to invest your time in them too. Forget about being their boss but, step in as their mentor, a coach who is ready to row the boat with them towards success. Encourage, inspire, motivate, and help everyone by investing in their development.

Being in the process, while you are in constant grill between work and handling your team better, do not forget to be always open for feedback. You need to be tactical and strategic while handling them, and above all, remember that everyone's idea needs to be treated with respect. Your team members should not look for the validation that they deserve, but they should be an important part of solution-finding. A Leader who wishes to transform lives understands the importance of each team member and identifies their unique skills.

The Core of Transformational Leadership:

Any structure is as strong as its pillars, which hold the entire foundation of it, and the same goes for transformational leadership. Talking about the 4 pillars or 4 I's.

Idealized Influence:

This simply means setting examples for your team. Before you weigh all your expectations onto them, you need to show them what is possible. It deals with understanding that the team cannot just be inspired by talks. If you wish to see your team producing better quality output, ethically, you have to be first to teach them to do so. You have to take risks first before expecting them to become the risk-takers and decision-makers. If you manage all this with all your integrity, nothing can keep you at bay from becoming the role model for them, winning over their trust, and this is the soul of this pillar.

Inspirational Motivation:

As the name itself suggests this is far beyond average motivation. One has to go beyond boundaries to inspire greatness in his team members. Just like kids are passive learners, so are people who look up to you. What you do has a greater impact than what you say. So, your behavior and actions are what stand responsible for their motivation. The efforts that you put forth need to be collaborative, and to achieve the same, good communication is the key.

Intellectual Simulation:

This pillar of transformational leadership has to do with the environment that you offer to your subordinates. Technically meaning the kind of comfort you can offer them at work. Constituting mainly by encouraging your team by making supper efforts and including everyone. Making sure that you do not tense the workplace with micro-management or by trying to take control of everything going around. You need to encourage them to come forward and take the authority of their decisions. You should also share the heat by trusting and stimulating their ability, effort, and intellect.

Individualized Consideration:

It simply means to consider every individual in the team. The goal of the entire team indeed needs to be the same, but this is also true that every individual should be free to take up the path to reach that goal. Your idea of focusing on every individual should be a customized approach. Help them grow by identifying their capabilities, and assigning them the tasks accordingly. Finally monitoring them for their progress graphs and mentoring them in the best way possible.

Birth-Evolution- Effects of Transformational Leadership:

Transformational leadership might feel like a recently created effort, relating to "modern problems need modern solutions" to handle the problems that are seen to exist at workplaces. But originally, this concept came into existence 1973, much before you might have even thought that a person could support and help the other person to grow. 

The term was brought into existence by James V. Downton, and the concept was put forth by a leadership expert and presidential biographer James MacGregor Burns. Bernard M. Bass later elaborated it from 1978 onwards and today is referred to as Bass' Transformational Leadership Theory. The model introduced by him was solely designed to encourage strong and ethical leadership that had the power of transforming one's life through its diverse and effective aspects.

Effectiveness of Transformational Leadership:

Did you know that transformational leadership is not only an integral part of the Full Range Leadership Model but also holds the highest position amongst all the types of other leaderships? It has been proven that such leadership practices provide followers with vision, mission, and identity. Such leaders offer more than just working for self-gain and they earn the trust, admiration, and loyalty of their followers.

Studies suggest that such kind of leadership helps in promoting positive outcomes as compared to other styles of leadership like Transactional or laissez-faire leadership. The other parameter that can judge its effectiveness is the impact of the leader on its followers and not just the number of followers. How the people function under their leader is the true measure of how effective and impactful proper leadership can be. This not only fills the workplace with positive emotions and happiness but also brings in a feeling of pride and responsibility towards one's work.

In Support of Transformational Leadership:

Though the concept of transformational Leadership has existed for many years, it has picked up pace recently. Many companies already follow it and focus on the collaborative ways of working. If you are a good reader and have an appetite for reading, you might have come across several articles by various leading business magazines and blogs, standing in support of transformational leadership. Their suggestions on team empowerment are a written example of the same. They talk about many such things that a leader should keep in mind, such as:

  • Giving your team the freedom to act.
  • Be open to new ideas.
  • Focus on the development of others.
  • Be supportive and a trusted manager.
  • Listen carefully and encourage the truth.
  • Believe – Encourage – Recognize – Appreciate - Reward.
  • Focus on the development of each.
  • Give room to grow and invest in their time.
  • Do not satisfy your ego.
  • Welcome feedback and reinforce them.
  • Earn trust.
  • Be clear on acceptable mistakes and mission-critical offenses.


One must understand that such qualities lie in a person's nature. But there is no evidence supporting that one cannot incorporate such behavior through learning and practicing these skills daily till these become the very nature of that person. If you wish to transform not just yourself but also wish to leave a positive impact on your subordinates, you can try practicing the above-mentioned one by one in your daily routine until you start seeing the change you once dreamed of.  As correctly said by Ray Kroc, "The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves."

Also, your main focus should be on changing others' lives for good rather than trying to become the master of a few unsatisfied people.

P.S.: "Leaders don't create followers, they create more leaders." By Tom Peters

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Misha Thakur