Leadership Styles in the 21st Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

It has been suggested further that the transformational leadership is a special type of transactional leadership because both leaderships are goal oriented. The difference comes from the way methods used to motivate people and the goal sets (Hater & Bass, 1988). Thus, one model is based on the leader's power to inspire followers and the other is based on the leader's creativity regarding the reward system. The goals are usually higher for the first type of leadership, whereas for the second type the goals are more operational. Avolio (1999) suggested that transformational leadership comes to augment the transformational one.

Transformational leadership vs. servant leadership




Charismatic influence




Risk sharing



Inspirational motivation

Commitment to goals



Intellectual stimulation


Problem solving

Individual consideration

Personal attention




Source: Russel & Stone (2002)

Recent leadership studies have brought to attention spiritual leadership (Fairholm, 1996), comparing the value-based transformational leadership with the servant one (Burns, 1978; Fairholm, 1991 & 1994). Some of the characteristics of this type of leadership relate to: sharing meaning, shared values, vision setting, intuition, risk taking, influence and power, enabling, service/servant hood, stewardship, transformation and community (Fairholm, 1996).

A study made by Barbuto and Wheeler (2006) identified five dimensions of servant leadership and a significant relation was found between these dimensions and transformational leadership:

Altruistic calling - refers to those leaders that put other people's interest above their own. The choice to do so is a conscious one and comes from a selfless way of thinking.

Emotional healing - refers to a leader's ability to heal individuals around him/her and create a safe work environment for its followers.

Persuasive mapping - refers to the leader's ability to envision given directions/frameworks for the organization in its future and the ability to engage others in its vision. Such leaders encourage followers to assume responsibilities that would eventually lead to reaching the envisioned goals.

Wisdom - pays respect to the ability of identifying potential cues from environment and people and the ability to see the possible implications of such cues.

Organizational stewardship - pays respect to the leader's choice of giving back to a greater entity such as the community through organizational efforts.

The tendency is for the transformational leadership to borrow some of the characteristics of servant leadership, basically blending those two types of leadership. Transformational leadership scores better from the leader's and organization's perspective, whereas the servant one is more appreciated by followers.

Transactional leadership vs. servant leadership




The transactional leader has a personal drive for achievement

The servant leader is driven by serving others

The transactional leader is independent and competitive

The servant leader is interdependent and collaborative

The transactional leader is using its position/power and fear to influence followers

The servant leader is using trust and respect to influence followers

The transactional leader is focused on telling other what to do and action

The servant leader is focused on understanding issues and reflecting rather than action

The transactional leader control information

The servant leader is sharing the information he/she has

The transactional leader gives directions and develops itself

The servant leader helps other develop and grow

The transactional leader uses accountability to place blame

The servant leader uses accountability to learn

Focus on results

Focus on people

Use reward to motivate

Inspire people to reach a higher goal

Source: Author's own research, http://www.changezone.co.uk/

Transactional leadership is focused on organizational goals, material results and the leader is the central piece in the leader-follower relationship. Transactional leaders are more focus on their own development, rather than the followers' development.

Servant leadership is focused on the followers' growth and development and the followers are the central piece in the leader-follower relationship. Servant leaders consider that other people's development and needs are more important than its own, which means that he/she is focused less on its own development than that of the followers. The servant leader is trying to transform followers in a given direction. he/she is trying to make people be stronger, wiser, more independent and more likely to become servant leaders at their turn (Greenleaf, 1977).

Spears (1995) suggested that leaders become servants in time as they gradually lose self-interest and become more focused on other people.

The transactional leader's performance depends on his/her ability and creativity to find the most suitable ways of rewarding its followers. However, in order to define rewards a transactional leader needs to know its followers, which suggests that transactional leaders have to display interest for their followers to some extent.


Probably the most common type of leadership is the transactional one and the most desired one by followers is the servant one. Transformational leadership mixes together characteristics of both these type of leadership and by doing so, it receives a great deal of attention from researchers.

Transactional leadership is using rewards to determine people to perform certain tasks. The leader-follower relationship lasts as long as both parties have an interest in continuing it and it ends one the interest disappears.

Transformational leadership is using the leader's skills to inspire, develop and transform people to better in order to achieve organizational goals. The leader-follower relationship is a long-term one and it may last even after the parties' business related relation ends.

Servant leadership is using the leader's skills to inspire, develop and transform people just like the transformational one, but its goals are people-related rather than organizational. Servant leaders focus on people and their growth, whereas the end goal of the transformational ones is organizational-related.

Many authors have suggested that the transformational leadership has come as a completion of the transactional one and after a deeper analysis it can be seen that the transformational and servant ones are very similar. The three leadership types are not mutually excluding each other. In fact, a good leader is assumed to display characteristics from all these types. he/she needs to focus both on people and organizational goals because people are not his/her only "clients." Shareholders and customers enter in this category as well, which makes organizational goals important. A good leader should know what is the right mix of rewards and when to use the reward system and when not, because the excessive use of rewards inhibits the follower's loyalty and increases the probability for it to leave the organization. Also, it should know what the right attention that needs to be paid to its own development is, so that this one doesn't become detrimental to other people's development.

Reference List

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Barbuto, J.E., Jr., & Wheeler, D.W. (2006). Scale development and construct clarification of servant leadership. Group & Organization Management, vol. 31(3): pp. 1- 27.

Bass, B.M. (1985). Leadership and performance beyond expectations. New York: Free Press.

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Burns, J.M. (1978). Leadership. NY: Harper & Row.

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Fairholm, G.W. (1994). Leadership and the culture of trust. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Fairholm, G.W. (1991). Values leadership: Toward a new philosophy of leadership. New York, NY: Praeger.

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Stone, G.A., Russell, R.F., &…

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