Familiar Concepts Transformational Transactional Leadership Terms Coined Essay

  • Length: 5 pages
  • Sources: 3
  • Subject: Leadership
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #78548038

Excerpt from Essay :

familiar concepts transformational transactional leadership, terms coined James MacGregor Burns

Prior to discussing the myriad reasons why Martin Luther King Jr. And former United States senator Joseph McCarthy embody the characteristics of transformational and transactional leadership, respectively, it is essential to denote just what those particular traits are and how they are related to these two individuals. In many ways, transactional and transformational leadership are antipodes of one another. The former is largely based upon gratifying the needs of followers via a system of rewards and punishments. The latter is largely about motivating followers to transcend their own personal desires to help to actualize the desired goals and ends of an organization. There are also certain facets of the leader themselves that these two distinct leadership styles require which set them in opposition with one another.

Transformational leaders typically have some sort of charismatic appeal that renders them as personable and likeable to their followers. As a result, they are able to motivate people to follow them because the latter feels some form of affinity or attachment to the former. Aside from having a natural charisma, transformational leaders also make sure to set an example that they want others to follow. They do not merely state their desired goals and talk about how to achieve them, but they actually get out there in the front lines and take part in creating an active change. Additionally, transformation and initiating change is at the root of this style of leadership (Traywick, 2008). These leaders embrace change and seek to empower others to foster creativity so that they can help to advance both themselves and their organization's larger goals by taking a proactive approach.

By contrast, transactional leadership is largely responsive and is based on a certain set of circumstances or particulars that help to motivate both leaders and their followers. Transactional leaders do not encourage change, creativity, or even inspiration as a form of motivation to compel their followers. Instead, they focus on a simple system of rewards and punishments (Ivey and Kline, 2010, p. 247), which is predicated on the fundamental belief that followers are motivated by their own intrinsic desires that may be aligned with, but certainly do not transcend, those of the organization. Virtually everything in transactional leadership is based on a system of rewards and punishments. The style of management largely revolves around monitoring followers to make sure they are adhering to principle and procedures and bestowing them with rewards and punishments as a result. There is an overriding compulsion in transactional leadership that followers must adhere to the precedents of leaders, and that the fulfillment of short-term goals is the best way to motivate followers. Transactional leaders' primary concern is preserving an organization's system; they are far from exciting or charismatic.

In stratifying Martin Luther King Jr. As a transformational leadership, it is crucial to note several key characteristics of him as a leader that justify categorizing his leadership style as transformational. King Jr. was beyond charismatic -- he was compelling. Moreover, he was an accomplished speaker who had the ability to galvanize people by his mere words and the ideas behind them. In this respect, he fit the personality type of a transformational leader. His oratorical skills were also nicely augmented by his background in the church (which helped to make him seem morally correct) as well as a professional, clean cut appearance. Not many people are aware of the fact that King Jr. was considerably attractive to many of his female followers, and that the clergyman actually engaged in acts of infidelity with them (he was, of course, married). In addition to these personal attributes, King Jr. also was a demonstrative leader. He not only openly gave speeches in which he peacefully demanded civil rights and integration, but he also demonstrated the sort of action that he asked of his followers. He took part in numerous marches and protests -- all of which were non-violent on the part of his organization and those with him. When his partisans encountered adversity in the form of violence and bigotry, he was there with him. He was arrested and only disparaged by the establishment, and in tolerating this sort of behavior, and continuing to demonstrate the virtues that he required of his followers under such circumstances, he exemplified the type of behavior he asked for -- which only made his followers want to help him even more.

Joseph McCarthy, however, was an excellent example of a transactional leader. Whereas King Jr.'s primary cause was to establish integration and earn civil rights, McCarthy's principle cause was to counteract the spread of Communism within the continental U.S. He recognized early on that people would not follow him simply due to the virtue of his cause (especially since the U.S. was and still is supposed to be a country of tolerance and free speech), which conflicted with the very ideologies that the country was founded upon. Therefore, he set up a system of rewards and punishments which compelled adherents to fulfill his commands because of the benefits they saw for themselves. People who readily accused others of being a communist were rewarded. Those who were accused of being a communist were shunned and punished. By implementing such a value system among Americans, McCarthy was able to foster an environment in which people were afraid to oppose him (by espousing Communist views) and which people were glad to champion his cause, since it would allow them to preserve their status as "free" American citizens (No author, 2008). It is also critical to note that the McCarthy's goal was to preserve the status quo of the U.S. As a capitalist, non-communist society. He was not looking to change anything, and set up a system in which people would follow him in order to ultimately benefit themselves.

In denoting the added value that both McCarthy and King Jr. brought to their organizations, it is crucial to understand the role that status played. McCarthy was able to give his cause -- the extermination of communism, and initial degree of integrity simply because of his position. He was a U.S. senator, so the American public was willing to take his accusations (which were eventually proven to be unfounded) at face value. Thus, because of the rank and order of the system that he was in and striving to preserve, McCarthy was able to give his cause a degree of credibility. The values that King Jr. gave his organization were intrinsically related to his transformational style of leadership. The fact that he was a clergymen gave him a degree of moral rectitude, which was all the more enhanced by the martyr-like stance of his non-violent approach (Jackson, 2000). Moreover, the eloquence and passion of his speeches and his physical participation in the many activities he coordinated served to inspire followers to contribute as much as he did.

Contingencies were largely at the heart of the influence of both of these leader's decisions to employ a transformational or transactional approach. It was necessary for King Jr. To utilize transactional leadership because he was ultimately seeking to transform a substantial part of the American social system. Additionally, it would have been difficult for him to use a transactional approach since he had few rewards or punishments he could give people. Instead, he had to make others believe that only by working together could they share the same rewards of achieving social justice. The contingencies that influenced McCarthy's transactional leadership pertained to the emergence of the Communist Soviet Union as the world's only other remaining superpower along with the United States. Thus, U.S. citizens were ripe to be scared by the threat of Communism, which made the punishments of being accused of Communism that more scary -- and…

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