Transformational leaders engage their followers to undertake a long and perilous journey to achieve a better future one that is envisioned along with a group of followers. These leaders show that they have the strength and vision to accomplish this vision. This process assumes that leaders transform their followers. Their influence transforms followers to accomplish what they would do otherwise. “They make people better, it is concerned with ethics, values, emptions, standards and long tern goals.” Northoouse,2013) Mohandas is classified as transformational leader. “Gandhi raised the hopes and demands of millions of his people and in the process was changed himself” (Northouse,2013)” Ryan White is another example of transformational leadership, as a teenager he raised the American people’s awareness about AIDS and in the process he has become a spokesperson for increasing government support of AIDS research”(Northouse,2016)
When I think of transformational leadership Nelson Mandela comes to mind, he was one of the foremost transformational leaders of our time. On 20 April 1964 Nelson Mandela stated “I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” (Glad,1997) Rolihlahla Mandela was born into the Madiba clan in the village of Mvezo, in the Eastern Cape, on 18 July 1918. “Nelson Mandela was a social rights activist, politician and philanthropist who became South Africa’s first black president from 1994 to 1999. After becoming involved in the anti-apartheid movement in his 20s, Mandela joined the African National Congress in 1942. For 20 years, he directed a campaign of peaceful, nonviolent defiance against the South African government and its racist policies” (www.biography,com)
Mandela created a connection that raised the level of motivation and morality in himself as well as his followers. His calm confident demeanor and his eloquent speech gave him a strong sense of identity. “History has placed a tremendous responsibility on the shoulders of this country’s leadership, namely the responsibility of moving our country away from the current course of conflict and confrontation. The hope of millions of South Africans is fixed on us. The future of southern Africa depends on us. We dare not waver or fail.” (Waldmeir,1997) Mandela took personal and political risks and made sacrifices to secure his objectives. He dedicated his life to his movement. “The peaceful birth of black majority rule in South Africa was a transcendent moment. Many South Africans believe this negotiated revolution to be a miracle: at the very least it was a feat of political magic.” (Waldmeir,1997)
Transformational Leadership has intuitive appeal, not only because people are attracted to this type of person it also emphasizes the morals, needs, emotions and values of its followers which focus group efforts to achieve more than they would individually. It also stimulates followers to try new approaches and develop innovative ways of dealing with organizational issues. Leaders also exhibit a supportive climate and listen carefully to the needs of their followers. They accomplish this but different means such as delegation and acting as coaches and advisors to help people to achieve actualization. “Transformational leadership results I performance that goes well beyond what is expected.” (Northouse,2013) It does have some criticism such as Inspirational motivation, Intellectual stimulation, individualized consideration and idealized influence may overlap. These are referred to as the four I’s in the transformational theory. Criticisms if this theory are that they four I’s overlap, as does transactional and transformational leadership styles. It also ignores task orientated behaviors such as planning, defining objectives and problem solving which in turns questions the validity of transformational leadership.
Nelson Mandela vision of a new regime and his policies that actively promoted the general welfare of his fellow man have stood the test of time and he will be always remembered as one of the foremost transformational leaders of our time.
Glad, B., & Blanton, R. (1997). F. W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela: A Study in Cooperative Transformational Leadership. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 27(3), 565-590. Retrieved March 26, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/27551769
Patti Waldmeir, Anatomy of a Miracle. The End of Apartheid and the Birth of the New South Africa (New York: W.W. Norton, 1997), p. 52. (book)
Pennsylvania State University World Campus (2020). PSYCH 485lesson 10 Transformational Leadership Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/2040131/modules/items/28001769