Transformational leadership is currently the most popular perspective of leadership. It is defined as a leadership approach that causes a change in individuals and social systems. Ideally, transformational leaders create positive change in their followers and ultimately develop their followers into leaders. However, don’t confuse this with pseudo-transformational leadership.
Transformational leadership is fairly easy to identify. These types often take control of the given situation and convey the vision or goal of the group or organization. They listen, remain calm and look for the opportunities. They are often passionate and have the ability to energize the room or group with their words. It’s about motivation and inspiration. It is easy to see why this type of leadership is so popular. However, it is far from perfect.
Transformational leadership holds some distinct limitations. For instance, this type of leader often lacks attention to detail in regard to operations. This is obviously not a good thing and can be potentially devastating.
To explain this, we must acknowledge the idea that all of the motivation in the world will not compensate for a workers lack of skills in regard to task completion. If we “cause and effect” this particular example out, we can foresee a transformational leader offerings only words of encouragement when either a detailed demonstration or training is needed instead.
This is not to say that transformational leadership doesn’t have its place; it does. I value this type of leadership in many roles. Instead, I am merely pointing out that its limitations create an opportunity for improvement in the leader. In my practice, I call this a “leadership gap“. If a transformational leader can recognize any such potential gaps and then proactively attempt to fill them, they will simply have greater success. Honest and constant self-reflection is critical for such leaders.