Comparison between transactional & transformational leadership models

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Leaders and their leadership styles play a significant role in personal as well as professional life. Leadership is the term used to describe the process of influencing people’s behaviors in a manner that they enthusiastically strive towards the achievement of their objectives. Leadership plays an important role in organizational success and today contemporary leaders are building capabilities to inspire their subordinates with the aim of reaching to the potential goals deal with the daily challenges. There are different types of leadership styles being practices by these leaders involving transactional and transformational leadership models. Both these leadership styles are utilized by leaders depending on the situation and focusses on basic principles of management.

Transactional leadership style

This type of leadership style has more emphasize on motivating the subordinates through self-interest. The employees have to follow the leader’s instructions in order to get directed and inspired. In transactional leadership model, leaders make their followers achieve their objectives through rewards and punishment. That is, if the employee works as per the performance expected from him/her, the leadership style follows the process of rewarding that employee to keep him/her self-motivated.

Transformational leadership style

Transformational leadership encourages followers to work in a way that helps in identifying changes and creating a clear vision that guides positive changes in the organizational culture. It focuses on enhancing the job performance and morale of the employees of the organization. In this style of leadership, contemporary leaders provide their followers with an opportunity to take their work ownership and explore their strengths and weaknesses.

Maintaining a balance between the styles of leadership

It is of great significance that today leaders in contemporary organizations are needed to recognize the importance of maintaining a balance between transactional and transformational leadership styles when confronted with a challenging environment. Leaders must be aware of using the appropriate style of leadership in different situations. Thus, practicing only the transactional style of leadership when changes in the vision of the organizational culture is required is not sufficient alone. Thus, attaining a balance of attributes when dealing with complex situations has become important for the contemporary leaders these days.

Charismatic and Great Man Theory approach

Charismatic leaders make use of their personality traits and communication skills to gain their subordinates’ attention. Practicing this style of leadership alone creates a culture where the appreciation of the success of the organization is all giving to the leader, preventing employees from being focused on their self-growth. Along with this, Great Man theory states that leaders are born and are not made. These leaders are often misfits in the culture of the organization which is complex and diverse.

Thus, to address the weaknesses of Charismatic and Great Man theory approach, contemporary leaders must practice transformational style of leadership that not only leads the organization to success but also makes its employees take into consideration the situational factors while dealing with the complex environment in an organization.  

From this, it has been concluded that the transactional & transformational leadership models are different from each other in various aspects.