As with the previous theories of leadership, transformational and transactional leadership continues to focus on the importance of the relationship between a leader, follower and the situation. Transformational leadership as described by Hughes, Ginnett & Curphy, 2012 is the when a leader focuses on a person’s values, ethical views, emotions and long term goals in order to change or transform them. This type of leadership is geared toward the follower to ensure they are motivated to perform at a higher standard than what is expected ( Burns, 1978). Transactional leadership takes place when a leader and a follower have an exchange relationship in which both parties’ needs are met ( PSU, 2014). In this relationship, both parties understand that they will give or do something and will get something in return.
As we look closely at transformational leadership, which is often times referred to as charismatic leadership, it appears that it is not much different from transactional leadership. If one were to think of a goal or reward as the outcome of an interaction between a leader and a follower, the transactional leadership would come to mind first. The follower would agree to perform a task for the exchange of a reward in the form of increased pay, better benefits or a promotion (PSU, 2014). However the idea of exchange can also be applied to the transformational leadership. The reward in this case is in the form of motivation and inspiration from the leader to the follower. This reward is more personal than tangible. Although the rewards are in different forms, the process of exchange still exists.
When I think of transformational Leadership and charisma, I think of the characteristics a leader must have in order to have such power to change a person’s views. This reminds me of the power and influence theory. A leader who has charisma is much like a person who has great power and influence over another ( PSU, 2014). This can be both positive and negative. An example of a negative situation is when Adolf Hitler used his power of influence to cause German soldiers to perform horrific duties during world war one and two with the thought that they would be rewarded with a better life. An example of a positive situation is typically observed when a leader uses positive traits to influence others to bring a positive change.
As with many theories, there are pros and cons. Although transactional leadership has shown that a focus on morals, values and providing motivation can be very beneficial to an organization, this type of leadership is seen as a “personality trait” that only certain people poses ( PSU, 2014).
Burns, J.M, (1978). Leadership. New York: Harper & Row.
Hughes, R.L, Ginnett, R.C., & Curphy, G.J. (2012). Leadership: Enhancing the lessons of experience. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Companies.
Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: Theory and Practice. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.
Penn State WebAccess Secure Login:. (2014, October 29). Retrieved from https://courses.worldcampus.psu.edu/fa14/psych485/002/content/10_lesson/printlesson.html