Transformational leadership has been widely studied because of the great impacts it can have on organizations. The concept of transformational leadership started with James MacGregor Burns in 1978 was furthered by a number of people including the psychologist Dr. Bass. Transformational leadership is when the leader is able to bring a team together around a common goal in a way that is inspirational to both the leader and the team.
Transformational leadership helps followers exceed expectations. This fact is backed up by research. Specifically, a 2002 article looked at cadets in the military who were exposed to transformational leadership and those who were not exposed to transformational leadership. Cadets that had platoon leaders who demonstrated transformational leadership outperformed the other cadets in every area that was measured including weapons testing and obstacle courses.
One of the great features of transformational leadership is how it allows change to happen within an organization. Since transformational leadership has an impact on both the leader and the followers, it is easier to create change that will have a large impact on the organization. This type of leadership has been known to cause a “domino effect” of change within teams and businesses.
Another great feature of transformational leadership is that it is applicable to almost any team situation where the leaders and followers are willing to try a new approach. Studies have shown that transformational leadership is effective in structured setting like the military. This approach has also been successful in hospital and educational settings. Lastly, this type of innovative thinking has also been effective in sales and marketing environments where there is a great profit margin.
When referring to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, self-actualization is at the top of the pyramid. In order to achieve self-actualization, a number of other things have to happen. Transformational leadership helps the leader ascend the steps to self-actualization. Once at the top o f the hierarchy and when the leader has realized their potential, they are able to bring others together for a goal that is bigger themselves. This is when systematic change is able to happen in a variety of organizational settings.