Demystifying Transformational Leadership

February 2024

What is Transformational Leadership (TL)?  

  • Easily understood as the sort of leadership which uplifts the motivation, engagement and morale of folks within a group or organization (Bass, 1999). 
  • The Four Basic Pillars of Transformational Leadership are: 
    • Individualized Consideration
    • Inspirational Motivation 
    • Intellectual Stimulation
    • Idealized Influence
  • Over time, TL theories have evolved to fit the needs of leaders responsible for decision-making in an increasingly more ambiguous, uncertain, and dynamic environment. 
  • As TL continues to evolve, it can become difficult to understand how to implement some of this theory within our environments so that we can obtain the benefits. 
  • Understanding the behaviours associated with each basic pillar of TL can help guide our interactions within the workplace, even if we do not necessarily understand the wider theory. 

How do we interact with one another in a transformative manner as leaders? 

  • To better understand the how, it might be helpful to look at other industries, such as the sports industry.
  • Below, you will find behaviours associated with transformational coaching behaviours, developed by Dr. Jennifer Turnnidge at Queens University. Dr. Turnnidge based her work on TL theories. 
  • As mentioned previously, four basic pillars make up TL. Today, we will dive deep into one of those pillars: inspirational motivation – the ability of leaders to inspire those around them by clarifying objectives, encouraging unity, and meaning to tackle challenges. 
Fg. 1: Inspirational Motivation Behaviours

Drilling down – how do some of these interactions occur in the workplace? 

  1. We can co-create short, medium, and long-term goals 
  2. We can actively look to acknowledge roadblocks and provide encouragement to one another 
  3. We can be deliberate in how we arrive at a collective vision and intentional in how we reflect on our progress toward achieving that vision 
  4. We can be proactive in openly discussing challenges, the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to tackle those challenges, and our capacity to confidently engage and dance with the uncomfortable nature of challenging tasks

Keen on hosting a learning experience where you can explore applying transformational leadership behaviours in a safe space? Contact to schedule a workshop for your team OR check out Public Workshops on our website for upcoming learning opportunities.

Nino Kovačević
Associate Facilitator
Barefoot Facilitation Inc.

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