What Is Transformative Leadership: See Why It Is Really Effective

Today’s dynamic work environment requires leaders that can drive innovation, inspire new ways of thinking, and harnesses teams’ creativity to respond to change.

Transformative leadership fits this description perfectly, and that is the focus of this article.

Transformative leadership inspires people to achieve remarkable results. They challenge employees to seek to become better at their job.

Moreso, they drive employees’ innovation by fostering a work culture that supports ideas initiation and exploitation.

Furthermore, these types of managers do not leave their employees to do the job. Rather, they lead by example, guiding employees toward career development and achieving remarkable success in the workplace.

This article seeks to extensively look into the definition, traits, aspects, strengths, and weaknesses of transformative leadership. Let’s delve into it.

Definition Of Transformative Leadership

This is a leadership style where leaders influence and inspire team members to follow a vision and achieve goals by working hand in hand with them.

In other words, transformative leadership is the ability to sight problems others may not see, identify solutions, and the capacity to push others to execute the solutions needed for change.

It is based on a system of inspiring employees in ways that goes beyond exchanges and rewards. This leadership style inspires employees to strive beyond required expectations to work toward a shared vision.

Traits Of Transformative Leadership

There are certain characteristics of transformative leadership, which are;

1. Commitment to active listening

It is not enough for transformative leaders to request or inspire ideas, they are able to make their colleagues and team members feel confident enough to share those ideas through effective communication and listening skills.

Furthermore, these types of leaders listen to ideas with an open mind and respond without judgment or hasty conclusions. They commit to employing active listening techniques so their team members feel valued, understood, and respected.

2. Simplicity

Simplicity provides structure and enables workers to execute tasks without clutter which makes it possible for team members to achieve exceptional goals.

Transformative leaders share Ideas and information necessary for innovative reasoning in a simple and unambiguous way so workers would have a clear picture of what they are to work on.

3. Trust in team members

Employees need autonomy to be efficient at developing and shaping creative and workable ideas. Managers who adopt the transformative leadership style understand this and trusts the team members to define their own step to success.

Moreso, when members of an organization are trusted to carry out their jobs effectively, succeeding becomes easier.

4. Ability to inspire participation

A transformative leader wants everyone to be innovative, not just a part of the workforce. Hence, they model a work culture that fosters creativity and innovation.

Through this employees are able to think outside the box, and organize their thoughts and ideas. Additionally, it helps in building creative and innovative teams where everyone is an ideal member.

5. Tolerance for intelligent risks

There is no ordinary path to innovation and there is no safe route to disruptive change Transformative leaders know that they need to take risks sometimes to achieve their goals and that calculated risk-taking is an integral part of the job.

So, before taking on risk, they are careful to analyze the effect on the future of the organization.

6. Innovative mindset

Transformative leaders use their keen perception to find opportunities and solve obstacles hindering smooth execution. They are able to intuitively sense the direction their organizations need to move in order to compete in their industry.

Moreso, they recognize that even the smallest problem can be the key to creating great innovative ideas in the company.

7. Willingness to accept responsibility

As an innovator, a transformative leader must be willing to own the results of venturing into uncharted territory, whether the result is good or bad.

No leader inspires confidence when they make others take the blame for failed ideas.

Every transformative leader must take responsibility for each of the decisions made in the organization, including green-lightening the ideas of others.

Aspects Of Transformative Leadership

To achieve their goals, transformative leaders instill a sense of participation and ownership in their team and in themselves by utilizing their aspects which are;

1. Idealized Influence

Transformative leaders develop a shared vision and improve relationships with employees. To use idealized influence, executives need to take these actions:

  • Instill pride in organizational members for being associated with the organization
  • Display a sense of power and confidence in the employees
  • Go beyond self-interest for the good of the organization
  • Talk about their most important values and beliefs
  • Consider the moral and ethical consequences of decisions
  • Emphasize the importance of having a collective sense of mission

2. Individual Consideration

Transformative leaders concentrate on identifying employees’ individual needs and empowering followers in order to build a learning climate and mobilize support toward the goals and objectives at the senior level.

For individual consideration, leaders need to take the following actions:

  • Spend time coaching others
  • Consider employees as having different needs, abilities, and aspirations from others
  • Help employees develop their strengths and provide various formal training programs to improve the performance of duties

3. Intellectual Stimulation

Transformative leaders propel knowledge sharing in the company to generate more innovative ideas and solutions for new and demanding issues that come up constantly in the hypercompetitive economic environment.

For intellectual stimulation, executives need to take the following actions:

  • Emphasize the effective coordination among different functional areas and seek differing perspectives when solving problems 
  • Suggest new ways of completing assignments
  • Undertake a comprehensive analysis when confronted with an important decision

4. Inspirational Motivation

Transformative leaders focus on inspiring people and do not just treat them as human assets. This sets a higher level of desired expectations for them.

For inspirational motivation, executives need to take the following actions:

  • Talk optimistically about the future
  • Talk enthusiastically about what needs to be accomplished
  • Express confidence that the goals will be achieved

Strengths Of Transformative Leadership

Transformative leadership comes with a lot of benefits some of which are:

1. Reduces employee turnover

Employee retention is crucial for an organization’s success, this is because finding and training new employees costs so much. Also, high employee turnover can lower team morale and create roadblocks in work processes.

Engaging employees, boosting their morale, and helping them achieve personal satisfaction helps retain employees more than other common leadership styles.

Additionally, transformative leadership follows an inspirational process for gaining the trust and loyalty of their team members rather than treating their role like a dictator.

As a result, employees find fewer reasons to quit because they have already earned the trust of their leaders and they also admire their leaders.

2. Motivates employees and builds enthusiasm in them

Transformative leadership has a way of analyzing and identifying the gaps in a company’s vision so it can formulate new ones when needed. This helps build the morale of teammates and pushes them to come on board.

Secondly, enthusiasm is highly contagious. So, transformative leaders are usually eager and upbeat, and in turn, exert the same positive influence on the people around them. They influence the workers through their behavior and through the use of effective communication.

Finally, effective communication and the ability to motivate go hand in hand. Therefore, leaders are able to remind the people of what they are doing and break them out of their old and stereotyped routines.

3. Stimulates creativity and encourages learning

For companies to evolve, they must be creative and open to change. This style of leadership focuses on the open impact of change and through this learning is encouraged.

In addition to working towards a unified goal, transformative leaders encourage their employees to continue improving by creating opportunities for them to face new challenges. They help their workers discover their potential and capabilities by bringing them out of their comfort zone.

Employees are open to new learning areas which helps them grow consistently and as a result, their growth affects the growth of the business.

4. Gives employees a lot of freedom

Transformative leadership gives the workers a lot of personal freedom. Workers are valued for their skills and experience and trusted to perform tasks to the best of their ability. There is also a belief system in the competence of every worker.

Furthermore, transformative leaders do not use their position to control or influence the decision of their workers, rather, they inspire them. This style is solely based on motivation that comes from within the organization.

5. Encourages unity in the organization

All relationships rely on transparent and honest communication. This style of leadership is conscious of the fact that in order to build a strong business, one must start with building sturdy and healthy relationships.

Moreover, forging relationships within a team helps minimize internal conflicts and develop unique talents within the team. Transformative leadership helps eliminate unhealthy relationships and encourages harmony among workers.

Weaknesses Of Transformative Leadership

As beneficial as transformative leadership is, it doesn’t mean that it is not without disadvantages. Here are some of the weaknesses of transformative leadership:

1. Disruption of routines

Implementation of a transformative leadership style requires every one of the workers to change the way they think about work, causing disruption and confusion.

Too many changes happening at once can make a unified system fall apart or make employees forget standard protocols.

Furthermore, transformative leadership is highly focused on motivating employees to change that critical thinking on when to change and where to change is not done and this may disrupt the flow of employees’ innovative potential.

2. Can lead to employee burnout

Employees may start to feel overworked, unappreciated, and burnt out when they are not receiving external motivation.

As such, the constant push to achieve a grand vision and continually take pride in the company’s achievement can lead to demotivation and burnout in some employees.

Transformative leadership has a way of pressuring workers and not everyone can effectively work under pressure.

Hence, when a transformative leader models a high level of commitment to a company, it may encourage employees to develop an unhealthy work-life balance and sacrifice their mental health for the work.

3. Misuse of power

Transformative leaders are good at influencing others, which makes it easy for people to misuse their power. They may appeal to others in their organization to drive negative outcomes or work towards goals that benefit the leader at the expense of their employees.

Some transformational leaders may even manipulate their followers into questioning their own judgment and becoming too reliant on what the leader thinks and feels.

4. Constant management

For transformative leadership to be effective, constant communication between the company leaders and the rest of the staff is needed. Because leaders motivate their employees by modeling good behavior, they need to ensure that employees witness their involvement in the company.

This constant maintenance can be tiring and time-consuming, especially in large communications.

Moreso, it may be challenging for company leaders to maintain communication with everyone on their team, especially when working on different types of responsibilities.


When can transformative leadership be used?

It can be used at the most basic level to inspire workers to look ahead with a focus on the greater good.

How effective is transformative leadership?

Leaders reach their full potential when they are able to balance and properly implement this style of leadership.

How do you implement transformative leadership?

You implement by creating an inspiring vision of the future, motivating people to buy into and deliver the vision, managing the delivery of the vision, and building an ever-stronger, trust-based relationship with your employees.

Is transformative leadership specific to a business?

All businesses can adopt this style of leadership so far, you’re ready to learn and give what it takes to be a transformative leader.


Transformative leadership is more realistic than some other leadership models and this is why it has increasingly become one of the most dominant paradigms today.

First, it addresses employees’ needs by encouraging feedback from the follower thus creating two-way communication.

Secondly, the current business scenario is influenced by insecurity, global commotion, and organizational volatility, for which transformative leadership would be a better solution to deal with these factors efficiently.

Finally, it will be best if you read the article on talent management to learn better ways of managing employees.

Thanks for reading.