Influence of Transformational Leadership on Behavior and Performance
Transformational leadership is a widespread, influential style of leadership that creates a high level of effectiveness in most organizations. This success can credited to certain leader behaviors that influence logic and motivation in their followers. Transformational leaders tap into the values, beliefs, and ideals of followers toward a higher vision. This is the most crucial part of leadership in fostering effectiveness.
Their inspiration helps followers discover new means of problem-solving. Much research has been carried out on followers’ reactions toward transformational leadership. It is common to find such tenets as trust, personal confidence, job satisfaction, identification, a feeling of belonging, and fairness being emphasized as indicators of the success of a transformational leader.
Another approach to transformational leadership has been the examination of followers’ feelings about themselves, based on input to their assigned jobs or groups. It makes sense to gauge the success of leadership by its effects on the behavior of targeted followers. In the school setting, it is crucial that students, parents, staff, and other interested groups feel that their leadership values their input, and that they are responsible for the success of the school in their individual capacities.
Perhaps the most important mechanism for gauging the benefits of transformational leadership is a critical examination of individual performance, rather than finding out their feelings toward leadership. In contrast to other styles, the rationale for transformational leadership is results-based.
A transformational leader should be able to bring out these characteristics in their followers:
• Identity: followers should be able to complete whole tasks while still adding value to them.
• Variety: a transformational leader should evoke an array of results by encouraging the use of different skills by followers.
• Autonomy: the leader allows for personal growth and freedom at work.
• Feedback: the tools of analysis by which the leader assesses the performance of the entire establishment, and helps to decide what needs to be corrected.
In a school, it is important that all students and staff, being the direct followers of school leadership, acquire these characteristics from the transformational leader.Though these characteristics may involve the feelings of followers, their intended purpose is to bring about a higher level of cooperative performance. Using the above characteristics, researchers are able to analyze the influence of transformational leadership on performance and behavior. The integration of all these aspects brings out the total synergy created by transformational leadership and a motivated following.
Transformational leaders enable followers to see organizational goals as being similar to their own goals and interests. this introduces a higher level of responsibility in followers, resulting in better performance. The use of intellectual stimulation through new styles of problem solving and a higher tolerance for individual freedom instills autonomy and variety, which are often characteristics of good performance. Through inspirational motivation and charismatic influence, followers are more likely to feel that their roles in the organizational setting are significant.
In a school setting, commitment to the school motto by students and staff can have a direct influence to their overall performance, be it academically or in extra-curricular activities. For example, if a school’s motto states “excellence through discipline,” anyone who takes this line to heart would try to succeed while maintaining a disciplined order. The link between commitment to the motto and success is obvious.
At Excellence Elementary School in Smalltown, USA, the students and staff recite an affirmation every morning at breakfast. “I am Somebody. I am capable and lovable . . . I can do anything when I try,” they chant. This emphasis on individual accountability and performance has had a dramatic effect on the school, which had been struggling.
The affirmation served as a foundation stone for the changes the school was starting to implement under new leadership. Teachers based art, music, and writing assignments on the new affirmation. Suddenly, children and teachers alike felt responsible for their actions, and were assured of their important role in the school. This is transformational leadership at its best: the leader sets off a process that allows staff and students to take ownership of the school.
Transformational leadership is a theory of leadership that was developed by James Burns (1978), and has been written about by many other scholars since then. To read more of James Burns’ work on transformational leadership and other topics, click here to visit his Amazon.com page.