Whatever your role, knowing how to be a transformational leader and how to be a transactional leader is important. While you may spend more time doing one or the other, it’s important to understand and use both skill sets.
A distinction is often made between “leadership” and “management.” In my mind, this is similar to being “transformational” and being “transactional.” For example, this 2011 article in an international management journal described some of the differences.
- Leadership thinking focuses on people and looks outward; management thinking focuses on things and looks inward
- Leadership goal-setting creates a vision; management goal-setting executes plans
- Leadership creates change; management implements change
- Leadership trusts and develops people; management directs and coordinates people
- Leadership sees the forest; management sees the trees
As management expert John Kotter points out in this conversation, organizations need both superb leadership and superb management. In your leadership role, sometimes you have to be a transformational leader who can create a vision and inspire people to follow it. Other times, you may need to be a transactional leader who can provide specific feedback to help people get the day-to-day work done.
Dee Anne Bonebright
Devinder Malhotra, the new interim chancellor for Minnesota State, has stated that there has never been a better moment in time for our leaders to make a profound difference. Due to the challenges we face, the complexity of a system of colleges and universities, and the incredible difference our schools can make in the lives of the people of Minnesota, now is the time to be a leader.
One type of leadership Malhotra was highlighting is defined by Bernard Bass in his groundbreaking book, Transformational Leadership. Transformational leadership works well in exceedingly complex organizations made up of diverse and challenging work groups that need to feel empowered to succeed in times of great uncertainty. Sound familiar?
Transformational leadership is best recognized by the impact it has on people in the organization. This type of leadership causes people to trust, respect, and even admire, their leaders. Transformational leaders:
- Hold positive expectations for their people and show their people that they believe they will succeed.
- Focus on and demonstrate that they care about their people’s personal and professional development.
Can you picture the leaders who have made a difference in your life through their transformational leadership?
Posted in building teams, Engagement, higher education, integrity, Leadership, mission and vision, trust
Tagged engagement, higher education, integrity, Leadership, transformational change
This year my talent development colleagues have been engaging our chief human resources officers in conversations about transformational HR. The conversations are meant to support human resources leaders as we begin a system-wide effort to move key transactional work to regional service centers. The move is designed to create efficiencies in our system and assist HR leaders so they can spend more of their time doing strategic work at the local level.
As we go down that path, it begs the question, what do we mean by transformational? Our HR community has agreed upon a discipline-specific definition of transformational HR that includes mastery of the following leadership competencies:
- strategic leadership and partnership
- organization development
- employee engagement
- diversity, equity, and inclusion
- change management
Still, the core idea of transformational HR builds upon transformational leadership itself. With that in mind, we thought it might be helpful to discuss the broader concept of transformational leadership this month. We’ll explore the following questions:
- What exactly is a transformational leader?
- What differentiates transformational from transactional leadership?
- Why does it matter?
We’ll also explore some of the characteristics of transformational leadership in our blog posts.
Before we dig in, tell us your thoughts on transformational leadership. What does it mean to you?