As we learned in our lesson on transformational leadership, we are more likely to find this type of leader in public institutions and at lower organizational levels (Avolio & Bass, 2000). I found this idea to be pretty interesting, as I would have assumed it to be quite the opposite. After re-reading the different factors that transformational leadership is known for, I identified one of these amazing and motivating people in my own workplace. Those of you who have read or responded to previous posts of mine might recall that I was in the military for a few years and have since transitioned to a civilian ‘nine-to-five’ desk job. While the world of insurance is not something most people are easily excited about, there is one trainer there that is just superb. He is charismatic, knowledgeable, approachable, and constantly working toward improving things at all levels of our business; these are all factors that a transformational leader embodies (PSU, 2018). Let’s call him Larry.
So, Larry is great, everyone loves him, and he has been with the company for over 30 years. When I first met him, on my first day, I assumed he was higher corporate. But in fact, he has been offered many different promotions and has refused all of them because as a trainer he can impart the greatest impact and see where the company needs to focus and improve. You can ask Larry anything, and if by some fluke he didn’t have the answer, he would work relentlessly to find the answer and explain it to you in impeccable detail until you can clearly understand the topic from any angle. His leadership characteristics include being future-oriented, confident, having the ability to clearly share his ideas and visions for improvement, as well as being very personable (PSU, 2018).
Now I do not know if Larry has always been like this, but if I had to guess, I would say he has. His direct impact on the company has been so substantial, and I can’t even conceptualize what his indirect impact might be. You can’t walk away from a discussion with this man without a smile on your face and a few great tips to make your work more efficient. As described in our lesson, “a transformational leader is basically a positive charismatic leader, they use ethical behavior, create a positive shared vision, and motivate followers to achieve that shared vision through strong emotional appeals” (PSU, 2018). This idea of charismatic or idealized influence, as it is referred to in our text, identifies these leaders as someone who acts as a strong role model for followers, they are well respected and trusted (Northouse, 2016). If I haven’t made it abundantly clear, I feel this man would make an awesome CEO, or president of the world. In any event, as I stated early, he is rather happy as a trainer in our insurance company, so that probably won’t happen.
Avolio, B.J., & Bass, B.M. (2000). Developing a Full Range of Leadership Potential: Cases on Transactional and Transformational Leadership. Binghamton: State University of New York at Binghamton.
PSU. (2018). Lesson 10: Transformational Leadership. Retrieved from PSYCH 485, Section 002: https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1925331/modules/items/23786606
Northouse, P.G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and Practice. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.