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Leadership Studies Essay on Leadership Styles

Leadership Styles

Leadership is defined in several ways depending on the perceived relationship between the desired result and the activities of the people at the top of an organization, as well as the relationship that those individuals have with their subordinates. According to other definitions, leadership is seen in terms of the situation at hand or the interactional dynamics of the expected results, the person at the helm of the organization and his or her followers (Givens, 2008). Despite these numerous definitions, the fact is that there is always need for a leader in an organization if the entity really wants to achieve its objectives. The type of approach that is pursued by a leader is largely based on the task that is to be done, and also the individual leader. Although there are various kinds of leadership styles, every style is used in a particular situation in order to attain the desired results depending on the way it is applied.

This paper focuses on the transformational and transactional leadership styles. It is aimed at showcasing the distinctive features of each style of leadership, but of great importance, the paper emphasizes on highlighting the effect of each style on both the organization and the subordinates who work under the leader.

The theory of transformational leadership surfaced in 1978 according to Burns, with Bass developing it further in 1985 (Givens, 2008). The theory is based on the beliefs in the ability of a leader to motivate the people under him or her towards accomplishing more results as initially planned by his or her followers. Therefore, the leader becomes the key catalyst for the followers in undertaking their tasks and inspiring the employees to not only complete those tasks but also achieve more within a given period of time. The basic elements of transformational leadership include stimulation, idealized influence, inspirational motivation and individualized consideration (Given, 2008).

Given (2008) argues that transformational leadership offers consideration and concentration on the values of the subordinates. Through the identification of these values, a transformational leader works towards aligning these values with those of the company, thereby inspiring the employees and impacting substantial results from the workers. Essentially, it can therefore be said that transformational leadership is related to higher mutual motivation between the leader and the subordinates, impacting the congruence of the value systems of the two (Given, 2008).

Transformational leadership style is appealing to both workers and the organization since it results into positive outcomes for both. With regards to the organization, this leadership style does not only enhance performance but also the culture and vision of the company. Improved performance and impact of citizenship behavior comes from the engagement of transformational leaders with their followers. With the sharing of values and vision, and the performance requirement for the achievement of the objective, transformational can stimulate their subordinates to perform better, thereby improving the quality and quantity of their contributions (Givens, 2008).

The change in the citizenship behavior of the organization usually occurs because of the influence of the transformational leader. Leaders who are described as transformational can conclusively ensure employees who are faithful, unfaithful and have better relationships with the organization, and can surpass the expectations of the organization (Givens, 2008). Therefore, transformational leadership creates a link between citizenship behavior and leadership, translating into altruism, courtesy, sportsmanship, helping and virtue among other workers (Givens, 2008).

The influence of transformational leadership exceeds the improvement of the performance of the organization into organizational culture. Because organizational culture impacts every aspect of an organization including ethical behavior, commitment, performance and productivity, the style of leadership cannot be underestimated based on its effect on the general culture of an organization. Therefore, the beliefs, values and assumptions of the leader shape the organizational culture, and all these are then instilled on the members of the organization (Givens, 2008 p.8). Thus, transformational leaders can significantly influence the organizational culture. Through their interaction with their juniors, and help with the duties of the employees in the organization, the leaders assist in augmenting the level of the commitment of the workers to the organization.

The most important factor in transformational leadership is its ability to influence people. The use of behaviors of empowerment on subordinates, a transformational leader can help in intensifying the motivation of their followers (Givens, 2008). Transformational leadership therefore, encourages the independence of workers in accomplishing their tasks, thereby giving them the freedom of working, developing their own ideas and questioning retrogressive rules with the aim of changing them in order to enhance their operations. This kind of freedom ensures job satisfaction and commitment of the employees to their work (Given, 2008)

Transformational leadership is reliant on the ability of the leader to implement change among subordinates without coercing them.

Transactional leadership is also another style that was created by Max Weber in 1947 (Nikezic, Puric & Puric, 2012). There is a sharp contrast between this style and the transformational leadership, in that while the latter gives freedom to subordinates, transactional leadership is focused more on protocol and regulation oriented leadership.

Leaders who are described as transactional can also be referred to as bureaucratic since they achieve ‘leadership through the normal rules and regulations, strict discipline and systematic control’ (Nikezic et al, 2012). Therefore, the subordinate staff is required to abide by strict and rational values and rules with unrivaled adherence to the established guidelines. This means that there are stipulated rules in transactional leadership, and followers are required to abide by them failure to which there is always a consequence.

The need for the adherence to the set rules and regulations in this form of leadership is especially clearly brought out in the fact that it is a requisite that provides for the work and operations of the followers based on the expertise and obligations and limitations set for each (Nikezic et al, 2012). The rules that are provided for in transactional leadership are strict to the extent that there are wages attached to them and also ranked based on seniority.

However, it should be noted that the foundation of transactional leadership is the exchange between the leader and his or her subordinates, whereby there is always a reward attached to any action that is undertaken by the follower. The rewards are given out as either appreciation for good work or punishment for inappropriate action. This brings into light coercive measures, which the leader clearly outlines and applies according to the established conditions for the organization (Nikezic et al, 2012). Therefore, a transactional leader emphasizes more on their position, operating in a more bureaucratic manner whereby he is charged with the responsibility of organizing, planning, budgeting and controlling the organization’ operations.

The legitimacy and authority that is achieved by transactional leaders from the organization is thus, defined by what they apply as work basics. Transactional leaders will therefore have to emphasize on goals that are task-oriented, assignments and standards of work, while also focusing on the completion of tasks and employee compliance. The leaders also apply organizational rewards in order to influence the performance of employees, promise reward or punishments based on the actions of employees. This is usually used in maintaining the status quo, although the transactional leader will largely be successful within a short period of time (Nikezic et al, 2012)

It can thus be said that the dynamics of transactional leadership are based on the judgment of the leader. The leader gives direction and motivation to the followers, while also appealing to their interests. On the other hand, the subordinates are expected to abide by and respect the instructions issued by their leaders, in recognition of the fact that the legitimacy of the leader is derived from the duty and authority that is bestowed upon the leader (Nikezic et al, 2012).

With emphasis on short term objectives, control, rules, procedures and standards, transactional leadership can hinder the generation of new ideas, vision and creativity. Therefore, transactional leaders are considered to be narrow focused with the ability to deliver little or no encouragement to creativity and new ideas (Nikezic et al, 2012). It is important therefore, that followers are efficient and can impact reduction of costs as much as possible. Such leaders have the part of the brain that controls rational behavior more active compared to that which controls emotional intelligence. As a result of this, the idea of utility against the monetary benefit determines the relationship of the leader and his or her followers (Nikezic et al, 2012).

The strictness of transactional leadership is therefore, only ideal in circumstances whereby the problems of faced by an organization are simple and clearly defined. Most transactional leaders will not be flexible, thereby very difficult to change. Nikezic et al (2012) points out that, ‘any attempt to alter this style of leadership is challenging and almost unsuccessful since the leadership style is part of humans, their personal traits and that is something that cannot be changed’ (P. 287).


Considering that leadership plays a pivotal role in the operations of an organization, effective and competent leadership are important requirements for any organization. The style of leadership determines the level of achievement of the objectives of the organization. Both transformational and transactional styles of leadership helps the organization in meetings its goals. They are examples of leadership styles that can be applied in the settings of organizations. Transformational leadership assists the organization in achieving its objectives with fact reaching impact on the culture of the organization, employee commitment and job satisfaction. Transactional leadership style on the other hand, provides no avenue for creativity on the part of employees, based on the hierarchy of the company, the set rules and regulations. Although there are instances whereby transactional leadership may be viewed as appropriate, transformational leadership provides the best style of leadership because it goes beyond just the organization and focuses on the needs and values of employees.



Givens, R. J. (2008). Transformational Leadership: The Impact on Organizational and Personal Outcomes. Emerging Leadership Journeys, 1(1): 4-24

Nikezic, S., Puric, S. & Puric, J. (2012). Transactional and Transformational Leadership: Development through Changes. International Journal for Quality Research, 6(3):285-296



Transformational Email

To: General Staff

From: Human Resource Manager, Sky Corporation

RE: Stress Management Program

Date : 8th December 2013

Greetings to all staff of Sky Corporation

Following the recent individual assessment, it is clear that several staff members are under stress

from work and other personal matters. While it may be impossible to eliminate all these

stressors, the organization is giving the staff members an opportunity to take part in the stress

management program that is being initiated by the company. The program entails a variety of

activities like yoga, massage and gym facilities with schedules between 1 and 2 pm, and 5 and 6

  1. Each of the activities has an instructor and all are encouraged to sign up for at least one of

them. We are hoping that the program will assist you in reducing the levels of stress and

improving the overall productivity of the organization. Feel free to sign up and forward any

concerns that you may have to the stress management team.

Kind Regards,

HR Manager.


Transactional Email

To: General Staff

From: Human Resource Manager, Sky Corporation

RE: Stress Management Program


The company is concerned with the levels of stress that have negatively impacted the

productivity of the employees. The company has therefore, come up with a new policy that will

require every staff member to attend a stress management program including yoga, gym and

massage services. The stress management team has been given a list of all the staff members and

the activities that will be performed by every individual. Get in touch with the team as soon as

possible to begin your program.

HR Manager.

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