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The Transactional and Transformational Leadership Concepts

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Introduction        The purpose of this assignment is to summarise the transactional and transformational leadership concepts, the central communicative behaviors and highlight some key findings from the videos  and 

Transactional and transformational leadership

        Leadership can be considered as the ability of an individual to influence and guide subordinates or other members of an organization by creating a clear vision and establishing achievable goals.

         According to Men and Stacks (2013, in Bass & Avolio, 1997, 2000) there are two main leadership styles, transformational and transactional.

        Transformational leadership focuses on increasing employee motivation and engagement by creating and representing an inspiring vision of the future. On the other side, transactional leadership is an exchange process which promotes compliance with existing organizational goals through the use of rewards and punishments. By comparing the two leadership styles, the following differences can be revealed:




Based on empathy, compassion, sensitivity, relationship building, and innovation

Based on organizational bureaucracy, policy, power, and authority

Achieves objectives through higher ideals and moral values

Achieves objectives through rewards and punishments 

Addresses issues before becoming problematic

Reacts to problems as they arise

Positively associated with perceived organizational reputation

Negatively associated with perceived organizational reputation

Positively associated with employee empowerment

Negatively associated with employee empowerment

Appeals to the group interest or organizational success

Appeals to the self-interest of employees

Creates trust and confidence in employees

Works within existing organizational culture

Promotes creative and innovative ideas to solve problems

Maintains the status quo within existing organizational structures

The role of a transformational leader is mainly active

The role of a transactional leader is primarily passive

As a conclusion, transactional leaders focus on the role of supervision, organization and day-to-day progress toward goals while transformational leaders try to enhance the motivation and engagement of subordinates according to a common vision. 

Personally, I have experienced both styles of leadership in my professional career so far and although a fun of transformational leadership, I would say that transactional and transformational leaderships are not always mutually exclusive, but leaders may often use elements of both styles in accordance with the situation they have to face.

Central communicative behaviours        

Johansson, Miller and Hamrin (2014, in Barrett 2006, 398) point out that leadership communication is defined as the “controlled, purposeful transfer of meaning by which leaders influence a single person, a group, an organization, or a community”. In other words, Communicative Leadership refers to the way a leader communicates with the employees and the rest members of the organization. It is generally concluded that communicative leaders are better communicators than other leaders and managers, and they have a high influence on employees’ behavior and performance.

While research on leader communication behaviors is extensive, according to Johansson, Miller and Hamrin (2014, 151) there are four central communicative behaviors in terms of individuals and teams, shown in the table below :

Table 1. Profile of Central Communicative Behaviors (Johansson, Miller & Hamrin 2014, 151)

Manager-Employee Level

Team or Unit Level

Initiating Structure

Set goals and expectations

Plan and allocate tasks

Define mission

Set goals and expectations

Plan and allocate tasks


Sense making

Facilitating Work

Coaching and training

Performance feedback

Coaching and training

Performance feedback

Problem solving

Encourage self-management

Relational Dynamics



Conflict management



Conflict management


Upward influence

Active monitoring


Manage boundaries

Provide resources

Initiating structure is the extent to which a leader directs team members towards goal achievements and sets the expectations for the individuals as well as for the entire unit.

Facilitating Work is characterized by expanding two-way communication building confidence and motivation and helping employees so that they have the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful.

According to Relational Dynamics a good leader must always be open, easy to approach without any barriers, and value thoughts ideas and feeling of others.

Represent. Good leaders must be capable of influencing others in the organization, particularly those in upper management and obtaining resources when needed.



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