Transformational Leadership Definition

By Martin Gilliard

One simple transformational leadership definition is

“a style of leadership in which the leader identifies the needed change, creates a vision to guide the change through inspiration, and executes the change with the commitment of others.”

Source business dictionary

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A definition quoted in the exploratory study of executive transformational leadership by Michael Paul Petran is…

“transformational leadership fosters performance beyond expected standards by developing an emotional attachment with followers and other leaders, which is tied to a common cause, which contributes to the greater good or higher collective.”

transformational leadership definition

(Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey)

Another transformational leadership definition quoted by Petran is

“transformational leaders share the purpose with their followers and… use the power of that collective purpose to create change… [by] communicating a compelling, meaningful, [and] transforming vision.”

Transformational leadership is often about achieving exceptional results. This is achieved by motivating, stimulating and inspiring a team through a shared vision of a better future state.

Transformational Leaders Are…

  • Visionary but they are also inspiring and charismatic with self-confidence.
  • Use strong communication skills to ensure buy in of the vision.
  • Act with conviction to ensure active progress rather than simply going through everyday motions.
  • Believe in empowerment
  • Act with conviction in a principled manner
  • Develop and support organizational shared values

Such characteristics usually make transformational leaders more effective than other leaders, especially during times of change.

Transformational Leadership is About…

  • Teamwork – with both leaders and followers working closely together, communicating effectively with each other and challenging each other to raise the bar to complete extraordinary achievements.
  • The whole team having a collective purpose.

It is often dependent on the team members having a commitment to a set of shared values – the future state that the vision portrays should correspond well to the shared values.

The transformation that is being worked upon should ideally have a positive impact on the leader and the

Success for the leader and the team is only realized once the transformation is in place.

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