Transformational Leadership Benefits and Limitations
When a business struggles for a period of time, it may bring in a transformational leader to boost morale. Transformational leadership is the use of high energy, enthusiasm and passion to inspire and motivate employees. While this approach can work well in firing up the troops for a while, it does have limitations as a long-term leadership style.
Often, a transformational leader is brought into break employees out of a funk or a state of indifference. Such leaders rely on a high degree of energy and charisma to quickly rally support and get employees excited about their leadership. Creating a positive energy and increasing morale are among the first goals of transformational leadership. Employees that were previously down on the business and their jobs may get a spark of adrenaline.
Effective leaders with any style have vision for the future. However, transformational leaders specialize in formulating forward-looking visions and communicating them to employees. Employees often just want to follow a leader who demonstrates confidence and excitement. Hope is a powerful tool used effectively by transformational leaders. By getting people excited, the leader can more effectively get workers to accept changes in their job roles and improve their overall outlook on the company.
In some cases, transformational leaders can create immediate changes and get employees excited about the future. Some struggle, though, to carry on the momentum for months or years. It often takes a high degree of energy to boost morale in a downtrodden environment. Thus, transformational leadership can often fizzle when the early excitement wanes, especially if the company begins to hit pitfalls or sees similar declines in sales or profits. To succeed in the long run, the transformational leader needs to develop genuine rapport with employees and a long-term commitment.
Transforming a company has a naturally short-term orientation. With vision, energy and excitement, you can get employees excited and willing to adopt new roles and attitudes. However, long-term leadership requires discipline and structure. This goes beyond transformational leadership. Human resources systems to hire and retain top talent and train and develop employees are necessary for sustained growth and development. Additionally, leaders at some point must make hard decisions and come up with structured budgets to maintain cost controls. This can quickly sour the enthusiasm of the rank-and-file employees.