Introduction beliefs and ambitions to achieve common goals. Their

Introduction

People
will follow someone who inspires them. Transformational leaders have a way of
uplifting and exciting their followers. Developing the vision, selling the
vision, finding the way forward towards the vision, and leading the charge are
the four ways transformational leaders establish success stories. This paper
will explain the history of transformational leadership, the style development
and roles of a transformational leadership. It will also analyze how Barack
Obama and Nelson Mandala applied transformational leadership while leading
their individual countries.

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Leadership
Theory

            James
V. Downton was the first to introduce the concept of transformational
leadership. Leadership expert biographer James Macgregor Burns then further
developed this concept. Burns definition of transformational leadership is
“when leaders and followers make each other advance to a higher level of
morality and motivation”. Transformational leaders motivate their followers to
change their beliefs and ambitions to achieve common goals. Their innovation
and charismatic personality is what makes this possible. “Transformational
leadership behavior represents the most active/effective form of leadership, a
form in which leaders are closely engaged with followers, motivating them to
perform beyond their transactional agreements” (Rubin, Munz, Bommer, 2005). Transformational
leaders are a great prototype of someone who works towards the benefit of their
team.

            The
researcher, Bernard M. Bass, broadened Burns’ original ideas and developed what
we now know as “Bass’ Transformational Leadership Theory”. Bass’s idea of
transformational leadership focuses on how followers are impacted. Bass implies
that transformational leaders earn the respect and admiration of their
following. Bernard M. Bass broadened Burns’ ideas by explaining the psychology behind
a transforming leader. Bass also established the term
“transformational”, and he helped explain how transformational leadership
is measured and it’s affect on follower performance. Transformational leaders
are expected to have an impact on their followers. The followers of this kind
of influential leader have respect and appreciation for the leader.

            “Many
of the connections between transformational leadership behavior and emotion are
predicated on the notion that individuals differ considerably in their ability
to understand and utilize emotional stimuli in productive ways” (Rubin, Munz,
Bommer, 2005).  Transformational leaders
have the ability to recognize the meaning behind the emotions of their
followers and problem solve on the basis of them. Recognizing emotion correctly
is most important when facilitating thought, understanding emotion, and
managing emotion. This can help develop a bond between leader and follower.

Also, it can help the team thrive because there’s a sense of trust and comfort
in the work environment.

            Due
to the many qualities of a transformational leader, there is a noticeable increase
in their followers’ work ethic. The leader provides their following with
something more to look forward to than just self-gain; they also earn an
identity, an inspiring mission and vision. All of this leads to positive
results. The leader transforms and influences followers with their charismatic
nature, intellectual stimulation, and individual consideration. This leader stimulates
followers to come up with creative and distinct ways to go against the status
quo and modify the environment to support being successful.

 

 

 

Application
of Theory

            “Charismatic leadership is a term often used to characterize
extraordinary forms of influence, and it is frequently associated with leaders
who are perceived as exceptional, gifted, and even heroic” (Bass, 1990; Conger,
1989). Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela are two presidents who have used transformational
leadership styles. Mandela did so during his term as president of South Africa
and Obama while campaigning to become the U.S. President in 2008.

            The
term, “transformational” became associated with Obama during his 2008
presidential election. With inspirational, magniloquent rhetoric, he vowed to
change the culture of America and deliver us to a brighter day. During his
election, Barack Obama advocated for women’s rights, health care, helping the
middle class, better education, etc. The Democratic nominee in the 2008
presidential election, Barack Obama, drew large and enthusiastic crowds to
carefully staged events. “There the candidate called on voters to aspire to a
‘higher, better purpose’ in civic life” (O’Neil). An example of this is from
one of Obama’s speeches when his administration launched its “United We Serve”
community service initiative on June 2009 in which the President urged citizens
to volunteer to help solve a myriad of community needs. President Obama
remarked, “And I hope you will continue the service work you begin this summer
for the rest of your life. Because American’s new foundation will be built one
community at a time, and it starts with you” (Jones & Muhammad, 2010).

            With
America’s history of misogynistic presidents, Obama’s support for women’s
rights helped him gain a number of followers in 2008. His dedication to
supporting the middle class also increased his following due to the fact that
majority of the U.S. population are middle class citizens. He engaged with
middle class by showing his understanding of the issues they face daily and
thus created a connection with them. Obama was big on education, from helping
special needs kids to providing grants to college students who were not able to
afford it. This concern and care for students multiplied his following. A big
part of Obama’s supporters in the 2008 election were college students. These
issues are focal points in American politics and are very important to U.S.

citizens. Barack Obama was able to draw crowds of people in during his
speeches. He presented solutions to these problems that caused Americans to
keep hope alive for a brighter future in this country. Obama’s engagement with
his supporters helped him receive great admiration. He won the hearts of
Americans and became the 44th President of the U.S. through this
leadership style.

            Nelson
Mandela represents the transformational leader who motivates his followers to extraordinary
accomplishments through charisma, inspiration, individualized attention, etc. Subordinates
who view a leader as charismatic will tend to see the leader and his or her
vision as core to their own identity and will be willing to sacrifice so as to
benefit the collective and achieve the goals and vision of the leader (Howell
& Shamir, 2005). Mandela had a vision to end the apartheid system in South
Africa. He led a campaign of peaceful, non-violent resistance against the
South African government and its discrimination. He was a transformational
leader who expressed his vision and gained millions of followers who shared the
same vision. He was known as a role model for his strong moral conviction,
personal example, and self-sacrifice. Nelson Mandela was aware of the
consequences he would be facing after he decided to revolt against the South
African government, but his mission was more important than his own life. As a
transformational leader he showed his people that he put their lives before his
own. Transformational leaders combat injustice no matter what the consequences
are. Mandela heard the cries of his people and their need for freedom and
democracy. His followers also gained an intense desire to fulfil their the strong desire to fulfil their
self-actualization needs of being free from years of segregation and
discrimination. Correspondingly, they felt empowered to adopt the necessary
measures to achieve their common goals, and were willing to abide by guidance
given by their leader.

Conclusion

            Other
leaders such as FDR and Ronald Regan illustrated the importance of being a
transformational type of leaders. These leaders set goals and accomplished
them, causing their following to preserve their ambition. When your nation is
thriving off of your strengths, and the belief in their own strengths a great
deal of agendas can be accomplished, which is the ultimate goal.