With leadership, no two styles are exactly the same. Each person in a leadership position possesses a unique combination of qualities, talents, skills, and perspectives that form the particular style of leadership he or she demonstrates. Many different models exist on leadership styles, some more prominent than others. In 1985, Bernard Bass developed the transactional-transformational leadership model based on 6 specific leadership styles he identified through the course of his research. These styles are as follows:
Transformational leadership: These forward-thinking leaders strategize to achieve goals for the future success of the company. They focus on team-building, motivation, and collaborating with employees at different levels within an organization to accomplish progressive and positive changes (Ingram, 2013). Leadership styles that pertain to transformational leadership include charismatic/inspirational, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration.
- Charismatic/inspirational – involves the leader’s ability to engage subordinates and influence them through visionary means (Bass, 1985). These leaders possess a charismatic quality that earns them referent power and influence (Bass, 1985).
- Intellectual stimulation – leaders encourage subordinates to think of new ways to solve old problems (Bass, Waldman, Avolio, & Bebb, 1987).
- Individualized consideration – leaders serve as a mentor to subordinates (Bass, 1985). They listen, learn, and develop the skills of subordinates while paying attention to their individual needs (Bass, 1985).
Transactional leadership: These leaders are mostly concerned with keeping the organization running smoothly, use various disciplinary methods and incentives to keep employees motivated to do their best, and are mostly concerned with how the organization runs in the present time (Ingram, 2013). This leadership type is characterized by the transactional exchange of rewards and punishment for good or bad performance. Leadership styles that pertain to transactional leadership include contingent reward and management by exception.
- Contingent reward – an agreement exists between leader and subordinates regarding what specific tasks or goals must be achieved in exchange for specific rewards.
- Management by exception – leaders monitor negative deviations and unmet objectives, and when these occur they exercise corrective action (Deluga, 1990).
Laissez Faire – one other leadership style identified by Bass involves leaders who are hands-off, delegate responsibilities, and allow group members to make their own decisions (Cherry, 2013). These leaders may provide tools and resources for employees to do their jobs, but subordinates receive very little guidance (Cherry, 2013). This leadership style can be effective, but only when group members are highly skilled; however, Cherry (2013) states that unskilled employees who lack self-discipline skills will not thrive under this type of leadership.
Each of these leadership styles has positive and possibly negative attributes. They can each be effective in their own ways. It is important for leaders to establish and maintain professional boundaries with subordinates but still be approachable. It is also important to know and understand the goals of the organization itself and make sure that your leadership practices are consistent with supporting or achieving those goals.
Answer in the Comment Section Below:
- What type of leader do you feel is most effective for you or in your organization?
- What type of leader are you?
- For transactional leaders, what are ways you have motivated your employees to do great things?
- For transformational leaders, what are ways you have motivated employees to think outside the box?
Bass, B. M. (1985). Leadership and performance beyond expectations. New York: Free Press.
Bass, B. M., Waldman, D. A., Avolio, B. J., & Bebb, M. (1987). Transformational leadership and the falling dominoes effect. Group & Organization Studies, 12(1), 73-91.
Cherry, K. (2013). What is laissez-faire leadership?. Retrieved from http://psychology.about.com/od/leadership/f/laissez-faire-leadership.htm
Deluga, R. J. (1990). The effects of transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire leadership characteristics on subordinate influencing behavior. Basic & Applied Social Psychology, 11(2), 191-203.
Ingram, D. (2013). Transformational leadership vs. transactional leadership definition. Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/transformational-leadership-vs-transactional-leadership-definition-13834.html