Transformational Leadership Leadership History and Models a Term Paper

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Transformational Leadership


A lot of research has gone into the subject of leadership skills as seen from a number of several different perspectives. As a matter of fact, from the early years of 1900 onwards, analyses on the types of leadership and their models have been going on, and initially the point of concentration was on the leader, and his followers. Researchers of the time, however, came to the conclusion that no single characteristic or trait could be taken as being fully explanatory of any particular leader's abilities and his capacity, and thereafter researchers began the process of analyzing and examining the situation and its influences on a leader and his abilities, and also made several attempts to try to distinguish effective from non-effective leaders. The purpose of such analyses was actually to determine which leadership behaviors were exactly exemplified by effective leaders, and which were not. (History of leadership Research)

Therefore, in order to better understand why some people were effective leaders and some were not, researchers used the so-called 'contingency model' in order to analyze and to conclude the various connections that must exist between personal traits, situational variables, and the effectiveness of a leader. In later years, especially during the 1970's and the 1980's, the point of concentration for studying effective leadership qualities in an individual shifted to the individual characteristics of a leader which served to make him a better leader, and which brought his company immense profits. The research more often than not concluded that leaders and leadership are important and in fact crucial and vital components of any organization. (History of leadership Research)

In fact, the basic notion of leadership and its influence process has been a very important one through the years, especially when taken in the context of human relations and public relations within an organization. This is the framework, then, upon which much research on the various models of leadership have been carried out through the years and it is often considered to be the more useful one upon which to conduct analyses. This is because of the widely acknowledged fact that the very social process through which one individual tries to exert his own influence on others in his own way is actually demonstrated in a large number of inter-personal relationships between a number of people anywhere in the world. (Tannenbaum; Weschler; Massarik, 1961)

Some examples of these are the relationship between the 'superior and his subordinate', the staff with the line, the salesman with his customer, the consultant with his client, a teacher with his student, the husband with his wife, a parent with his child, and so on and so forth. These are the normal relationships that always occur in the context of groups, and within organizations, and also within a set of cultures, and are in turn influenced by the organizations and cultures themselves. Therefore, it can be stated that when one desires to understand leadership better, then one would have to try to gain a deep insight into the very nature and character of a personality or of a group or of an organization.

Thereafter, one must attempt to analyze the various cultural variables that would invariably be present in any one group of several different individuals, and then analyze the various interrelationships between them and the variables that are seen in a system of influence of this particular kind. The two most important elements in such a framework of leadership analyses are, primarily, the so called 'social sensitivity' or what is also known as 'empathy', and 'action flexibility', or what is also known as 'behavioral flexibility'. Both these variables are of extreme importance when analyzing leadership, and its effectiveness and its causes. (Tannenbaum; Weschler; Massarik, 1961)

It must be noted that the word 'leadership' as such is a very widely used word indeed, and social workers, political activists, orators and scholars and of course numerous others all utilize it in their speech and in their writing. However, what must also be noted is the fact that not everyone agrees about its actual and true meaning; among the social scientists, leadership has come to represent something that will always constantly shift and change, and transform its primary focus first on one thing and then another. There is a lot more work to be carried out before it can be truly stated that there is indeed a systematic and a basic theory for leadership, and a full fledged framework developed upon which to accurately measure effective leadership. When taken through history, leadership studies have been effectively showing the shifting focus on theoretical orientation of leadership studies; whereas early studies concentrated on the study of the leader as a person, to the exclusion of various other variables, later studies laid emphasis on isolating the physical and the psychological characteristics of the leader, and these were considered to be traits which were in fact differentiating the leader from all the other members of the group. (Tannenbaum; Weschler; Massarik, 1961)

Likewise, the concept of spirituality in leadership is a relatively newer idea, and one that researchers have started to analyze only recently, having been ignored as a concept for the past hundreds of years before today. However, one must not forget that throughout our social history, man has been able to identify his own inner moral as well as spiritual standards, and seen them for the influence they tend to cast upon human actions in general. In fact, it can even be stated that it is man's inner sense of spiritual wholeness that defines mankind as such, and also determines man's inner values, his sense of morality and justice, and therefore tends to direct man's actions and the various decisions that he makes in his daily life and also in his working life. (Fairholm, 1997)

Therefore, it must be remembered that spirituality plays a very important role in a leader's various actions and in his process of decisions making, as well as in the followers' lives. Every single individual has an innate sense of who he is, what he is doing, and where he is going, and all these various concepts are guided by his inner spirituality. As a matter of fact, it can be stated that it is this true inner self that actually guides man in general and a leader as well. Spirit is therefore an inseparable part of the leadership of an individual, and it is this that guides him in his various actions. In today's fast paced world, the workplace in fact becomes a central part of one's life, and this means that one would have to relate one's own personal spiritual values with his workplace vales, and this in turn becomes the most important and central part of leadership. (Fairholm, 1997)

There are, to date, numerous models of leadership, that have been found to be effective after intensive research conducted through many years, and the interest in what exactly makes a good and effective and efficient leader is still an extremely interesting topic. Some of the better leadership models are, according to research, the following: the participative styles of leadership, which, according to studies conducted by Hawthorne and Kurt Lewin and Likert, invariably lead to an enhanced job satisfaction, and also to a better performance. Another is the 'contingency theory', which argues that the proper or the right or the most effective leadership style is something that constantly changing accord to the present context. One example of this model is that explained by Blake and Mouton's managerial Grid, according to which organization developmental practices can be easily analyzed. (Leadership Theories, 1)

Another is the 'instrumental theory', according to which a lot of stress is placed on the task, as well as on the person oriented behavioral patterns, like, for example, delegation, and participation on the part of the leader in order to gain better effectiveness from the others in his team. Inspirational leadership theories are based on the fact that a single individual, with his inspiring personality and way of life and method of thinking, be able to influence his team into better performances. These leaders are, more often than not, inspirational persons, and they are at times called transformational leaders too. This type of leader would appeal to the inherent value and visions of the team of followers around him, upon whom he would be able to cast a great influence. He would not only be able to inspire and instill confidence among them, but also be able to motivate them to change wherever and whenever necessary for the progress of the organization. (Leadership Theories, 1)

The 'informal leader' is the person who has not exactly been appointed to leadership, but would be able to, in general, assume leadership in manifold other ways. Another leadership theory is the so-called 'path goal theory', according to which the expectancy theory of motivations comes to the fore, wherein a leader is responsible for motivating his team well, and into giving better performances in…

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