Likecharismatic leaders, transformational leaders inspire others. However, unlike the former leadership style, this style does not require the leader to be present to effect change, because the leader initiates transformation through the organization and motivates employees to perform (Burn, J. M. 1978).
Transformational leaders demand a high level of productivity and involvement from employees(Slabbert, J. 2020). While this style can go a long way in affecting real change, it mayoveruse some employees to the detriment of others. Transformational leaders also risk setting too-high, unrealistic expectations for team members.
Disney remains the central figure in the history of animation.(Walt Dinsey, 2020) Through technological innovations and alliances with governments and corporations, he transformed a minor studio in a marginal form of communication into a multinational leisure industry giant. Despite his critics, his vision of a modern, corporate utopia as an extension of traditional American values has possibly gained greater currency in the years after his death (Walt Disney, 2020).
Nelson Mandela served as the president of South Africa from 1994-1999, but his impact as a transformational leader will last for countless decades. (“Leadership”, 2020) First of all, Mandela was a fantastic leader because he appreciated the power of symbols and the moral persuasiveness of genuine acts of kindness. By being a servant of others and engaging in simple and random acts of kindness toward others, Mandela served as an inspiration to his subordinates as well as to other leaders (“Leadership”, 2020). His recurring emphasis on forgiveness was incredible as well. After being released from prison, he said “I am working now with the same people who threw me into jail, persecuted my wife, hounded my children from one school to the other… and I am one of those who are saying: Let us forget the past, and think of the present.”
Jeff Bezos inspires others with vision, Vision doesn’t count without action. And not without managing innovation (De Andras, F. 2017). That idea of staying the course for the long term has been the key to Bezos’s success (De Andras). Vision requires the long term as does innovation.
Reed Hastings is an American entrepreneur, co-founder and current CEO of the media rental service Netflix. In 1997, Hastings had the idea of a subscription-based movie-rental service (after incurring a large late fee when he failed to return a store-rented videocassette); he and business partner Marc Randolph incorporated Netflix in California in 1997 and started mail-order DVD operations in 1998 (Goncalves, V.J. 2017)
Boyd and Fogel reinvented travel reservations by charging lower commission fees on reservations, but focused on smaller niche markets (inns, B&Bs and apartments), eventually spawning Booking.com (White, S. K. 2018)
HBR points to Apple as an example of “dual transformation”: Jobs innovated on original Microsoft products while also building a software ecosystem. Cook has extended on Jobs’ vision, maintaining a focus on innovation, software and brand loyalty (White, S. K. 2018).
The insurance industry is not known for dynamic leaders, but Bertolini had established himself as a maverick: he had raised the minimum wage for employees, introduced yoga and meditation into the workplace, and even paid workers to get enough sleep (Hirsch, J. S. 2019). He’d go to work in blue jeans, he liked riding motorcycles, and he was the first straight ally on the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (Hirsch, J.).
Thiry managed to take a bankrupt company (White, S. K. 2018) and turn it into a thriving business through firm core values that included “service excellence, teamwork, accountability and fun,” according to Harvard Business Review.
Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer Microsoft, Inc., through his authentic and transformational leadership style, has made the company responsive to market needs, increased employee commitment, and delivered high financial return to shareholders (White S. K. 2018). Mr. Nadella’s leadership style has turned Microsoft around, instilled a collaborative culture, and Microsoft is now on the verge of becoming the first trillion dollar company, a remarkable achievement in such a short time.
As the CEO of Danone since 2014, Faber was judged by the Harvard Business Review as part of the 2017 Transformation 10 for his incredible efforts to grow the company in just five years. Having worked for the same company for over 17 years, Faber is an insider who knew how things used to work and how they could be done better. He is an example of how managers who may have worked under an autocratic system can embrace new leadership styles for better results (White, S. 2018).
Hiesinger became CEO of ThyssenKrupp in 2011 and helped alleviate pressure from Asian competitors in the steel market by embracing newer forms of manufacturing, including 3D printing – “new growth areas” that now make up 47 percent of the business’ sales (White, S. K. 2018)
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Frequently asked questions about Transformational Leaders
What is Transformational Leadership?
Like charismatic leaders, transformational leaders inspire others. However, unlike the former leadership style, this style does not require the leader to be present to effect change, because the leader initiates transformation through the organization and motivates employees to perform.
What are the characteristics of a Transformational Leader?
Transformational leaders demand a high level of productivity and involvement from employees. While this style can go a long way in affecting real change, it may overuse some employees to the detriment of others. Transformational leaders also risk setting too-high, unrealistic expectations for team members.