"What is leadership?" When this question is asked most of the people answer "leadership is the capacity or an ability of a person to lead". Earlier theories of leadership viz. trait, behaviour and contingency theories explain the meaning of leadership from different angles. But all these theories spring from the point of view of leaders i.e. "How to control the followers?" Now-a-days the most recent type of leadership is Transformational Leadership theory which also theorises from the point of view of leaders but it attempts to transform the followers or subordinates into leaders.
Transformational Leaders have three basic characteristics. These characteristics help them to turn their subordinates into leaders. These are explained as below: -
1.) VISION - This is the ability of an individual to bind people with an idea e.g. Subhash Chander who initiated KBC, Super Lotto etc.
2.) FRAMING - A process by which leaders define the purpose of their movement in highly meaningful terms. (Like Laloo Prasad Yadav, who is an excellent folk orator, who sways the mass mind and that helps him to maintain his vote bank.)
3.) IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT ? It is a leader's attempt to control the impressions that others form about a leader. (Like Vijay Mallaya and his media publicity and Bollywood connections.)
Leadership is all about leaders and followers, superiors and subordinates. Transformational Leadership can be understood in a simple way by chasing
"The follower's point of view". Wherever there are two persons some contradiction often arise. It is said, " Two intelligent persons often differ and in fact contradict each other." And most of us consider ourselves to be intelligent at our own levels. So contradiction is always there. Contradiction may be of many types but broadly it is of two types. First at personal levels i.e. two or more persons generally quarrel with each other as "Ek mayan mein do talwarein nahi reh sakti". In fact "Ek mayan mein ek talwar bhi rakkho to aawaz karti hai." i.e. we sometimes contradict ourselves also.
Like in case of women generally they take a long time to dress up. This is because they are in a contradiction with themselves only, which is "What to wear?" So contradiction is at personal levels. Second, it may be at organizational levels also i.e. differences of any kind between different combinations of organizational hierarchy. So when we start believing that some contradiction is to be there we can arise on the meaning of Transformational Leadership from two different angles.
First-------from angle of viewpoints.
There are normally three types of viewpoints first which is ours, second, which is yours, and a third one, which is normally the right one. So contradiction arises. Now, "Who is a Transformational Leader?" and this is the basic question. Transformational Leader is a person who often reduces the contradiction between the first and the second and very smoothly takes these two viewpoints to the third one, which is as I earlier mentioned is generally the right one (third viewpoint is generally the philosophy of your workplace). This is very much similar to Henry Fayol's principle of management-----Subordination of individual's interest to general interest.
Second---------from the angle of change.
Whenever there is a contradiction, a seed for change is sown. And whenever a change is there people start resisting it. But ultimately the subordinates have to more or less yield to the change (We can take example of natural calamities. We normally have resistance to them but we accept them after they have occurred.). S, again the same question, "Who is a Transformational Leader?" Now, Transformational Leader is a person who reduces the time lag between the resistance to change and acceptance of change as smoothly as possible.
So to sum up Transformational Leaders rely on persuasion, idealism, intellect, and motivation through values and shared vision( Like principals of colleges, CEOs etc.)
Superiors should try to groom their subordinates in such a way that they grasp the their qualities. A leader attempts to transform the subordinates of today into the leaders of tomorrow.
This is what Transformational Leadership is all about.
Bharat Gaurav Kapur
(Lecturer in Commerce)
Sri Aurobindo College of
Commerce and Management,