The term transformational leadership was used for the first time by Downtown. (Northouse. 2009) The leadership style that creates a positive and valuable change among its followers turning them into leaders by motivating and inspiring them is known as transformational leadership.

Transformational leadership can be defined briefly as a process whereby a person engages with others and creates a connection that raises the level of motivation and morality in both the leader and the follower. This type of leader is attentive to the needs and motives of followers and tries to help follower search their fullest potential. A variety of mechanisms are used by the leader in Transformational leadership to increase their morale, motivation and performance. (Northouse. 2009)

Burns’s Transformational Leadership

Major research on the topic of transformational leadership has been done by Burns. In fact most of the democratic styles of leadership are all said to be offshoots and branches of the transformational leadership style given by Burns.

According to Burns transformational leadership is different from transactional leadership that uses simple exchange and reinforces good job done by the followers by rewarding them. Transformational leadership is more effective as compared to transactional leadership as in transactional leadership encourages and tempts selfish concerns. In transformational leadership an appeal is to social values that encourage people to come together and work together rather as individually.

Components of Transformational Leadership

According to Avolio and Bass, “Transformational leaders do more with colleagues and followers than set up simples exchanges and agreements”. They gave four main components of transformational leadership that the leaders use to achieve superior results. The four components are:

Idealized Leadership – leaders become role models

Intellectual Stimulation – leaders encourage creativity and innovation by reframing problems, questioning assumptions and developing new approaches

Inspirational Motivation – leaders provide challenging and meaningful work for the followers to inspire and motivate them.
Individualised consideration- leaders focus on to the needs of achievement and growth of each of its individual follower. (Avolio and Bass. 2002).

Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King are said to be the perfect examples of transformational leaders. These leaders are eloquent speakers that through their style offer a convincing vision. They are inspirational motivators who appeal to beliefs and basic values of an individual.

Benefits of Using the Transformational Leadership Style

[adsense1]It is often said that the best way for a leader to behave is to inspire people, motivate and stimulate them to think and act differently and lead a change. If one has integrity, uprightness and a good content and the ability to communicate it to others than bringing even a radical change is easy. People get more easily inspired if the leader has a valid content and enough enthusiasm than when their communication is more sleep-inducing.

When there are no evidences and facts but the change is necessary even then transformational leadership is necessary. When alone facts cannot bring a change the transformational leaders inspire and win over the people to bring the changes. Transformational leadership can be used for something negative as well but bringing positive changes becomes easier with it.


Burns, James MacGregor. (1979). Leadership. Harper & Row

Bass, Bernard M. And Avolio, Bruce J. (2002). Developing potential across a full range of leadership: cases on transactional and transformational leadership. Applied Psychology Series.

Routledge Northouse, Peter G. (2009). Leadership: Theory and Practice . SAGE