Adaptive leadership is a leadership style used by those at the helm of power to come together in organized groups to battle a challenge. This leadership style can adapt to a challenging environment, thereby having the influence and ability to effect changes in leadership through a gradual process. Leaders in the current world face various challenges coming from the opposition and other rebellious organizations. Therefore, adaptable mixed leadership is the solution to such competitors since the style is characterized by urgency, political uncertainties, and high stakes. Leaders are usually forced to craft a way of moving their governments since the actions of the opposition can stall projects and the agenda of the government (Heifetz & Linsky 256). Adaptable mixed leadership gives room for critical thinking, decision making, and the entire government is involved in the process of seeking a solution. Misky, Heifitz, and Hogan came up with adaptive theories that can enhance leadership skills and strategies while an organization is adapting to a change.
Franklin D. Roosevelt is most often considered one of the most significant historic U.S. Presidents, not only having the unique privilege of serving more than two terms but guiding the country through the two biggest back-to-back crises of the century, The Great Depression and World War II. In 2011, the United States Presidency Centre overwhelmingly voted FDR as the best President in the history of America. The primary thesis of the research is that Franklin D. Roosevelt was highly adaptable in his leadership practices (Heifetz & Linsky 260). He utilized a mixed-methods approach of democratic leadership and charisma when appealing to citizens and Congress, but at times of decision-making and crisis, demonstrating a solid authoritative approach to leadership with unprecedented determination to achieve his policy goals.
Scholars have identified some of the factors that led to Franklin Roosevelt being considered the best President of America in their country’s history. Curiosity is one factor that made FDR be among the greatest presidents of the nation; Roosevelt was a curious leader who was ever ready to pick on new challenges and learn from them. His art of curiosity was enhanced by the fact that he was an excellent communicator and swiftly coordinated communications in his country and beyond (Cole 610). This gave him a solid platform to learn new things from within the country and outside the country. The thirst for knowledge and being informed on matters that were of interest to his country helped him to establish an authority; thus, he executed his plans and projects with speed, confidence, and precision.
Another factor for his success was his excellent presentation skills; FDR was well established physically and is best known for his fireside chats. During his tenure, communication through the radio was among the technological advancements that were just created. The President used radio technology to his advantage and became one of the best orators of his time. Before assuming his roles at the white house, the mailroom at the white home was operated by one mailperson. Within seven days of his assumption of the office, another additional seventy operated were needed. The other personnel in the mailroom were required to cope with over half a million letters of appreciation sent to the President then.
Confidence was another factor that helped FDR to be successful in his adaptable mixed style of leadership. Franklin Roosevelt was considered to be the President who executed his plans with a lot of confidence; his opinions and decisions were rarely opposed as he had a lot of confidence in them. The self-confidence he had would see him ignore the advice given to him by some of his trusted presidential advisors on significant issues, one being the involvement of the U.S. in the Second World War. The President’s confidants were not for the idea of the U.S. supporting the British in the war; FDR, however, led the U.S. into supporting the Allied Forces in the war, a defining moment that denied the Axis nations the ground to fight the Allied Forces effectively.
During his tenure as the U.S. president, the Americans witnessed some of the most eventful years in their nation’s history. The leadership style of Franklin Roosevelt helped him overcome diversity which defined his success as a leader by a significant margin. Twelve years before he was elected to office, the President contracted polio, which would leave him paralyzed from the waist downwards. Even though he was paralyzed, he refused to appear in public using a wheelchair, a sign of overcoming his adversity.
To be considered a successful leader, an individual must undertake some notable things for their country while in leadership. FDR is one such leader who, by his versatile leadership style, steered his country to safety from series of events and happenings that the country faced then (Glover et al. 24). He managed to guide his country in most instances to safety from trouble. Some of the successful operations he oversaw as a president were driving the country out of the great depression and offering the best leadership skills and qualities during the Second World War.
The Second World War was historical to the Americans and can be seen as a test to the leadership skills of FDR and his diplomatic relations to the outside world. Significant challenges in the American foreign diplomatic ties pave the way for us to look inside what happened during the war and how President Franklin Roosevelt manage to handle the issue to win the war alongside the nations they were allied to. During the Second World War, there is one person who influenced the outcome of the war directly, and that was Franklin Roosevelt, who was the President. The U.S. was successfully ushered to a golden age by the leadership of President Franklin Roosevelt.
The world experienced an economic depression in the 1930s, and it had severe effects in different ways in Europe, Asia, and America. The European nations saw a shift of power to totalitarianism and imperialism in countries like Germany, Italy, and Spain. On the other hand, Japan was starved in terms of resources and had started to invade China and the pacific for resources (Cole 599). During the great depression, Americans were, however, in favor of isolationism. They temporarily took a neutral stance on world affairs but secretly supported the British in the fight against the Germans. Roosevelt was involved in European affairs at the onset of the war in 1939 when he declared that the U.S. could supply the Aliens with American-made weapons during the war.
The U.S. continued to be neutral in European affairs until they were provoked into joining the war when the Japanese, who were allied with Nazi Germany, attacked Pearl Harbor (Cole 603). The U.S. fought the war in the pacific and Europe under the leadership of President Franklin Roosevelt through his close partnership with two other European leaders from Britain and USSR, their approach and ideas towards the war gave them victory.
The entry of the U.S. into the Second World War, which was more of a European affair, saw a new alignment in preparation for the war. Great Britain, United States, and the Soviet Union formed the fifty-nation grand alliance. Through series of meetings, the leaders of the Allied powers; Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston S. Churchill, not only came up with military strategies to win the war against Italy, Germany, and Japan but also devised a plan on how business was to be conducted immediately after the war was over (Cole 607). In their discussions, there were three big decisions about war and peace that would transform the international system.
The result of the war would see powers shifting from a nation to the other; the time of war had negative impacts on the economies of most countries that participated in the war and those that did not. Other notable results of the war were that the countries that colonized territories in other parts of the world eroded the cultures and empires in those areas. All the nations who participated in the war were politically weakened whether they were victorious or defeated. All the happenings after the world war gave birth to the formation of new world organizations.
Through his adaptive leadership approach, Kimball speaks about the attempts by Roosevelt to ensure that the involvement of the U.S. in the Second World War was a success. One famous stance that he took in the war was on the four policemen; debates ensued about the approach from all sides of the spectrum, with the main agenda being disarmament. FDR argued that if the smaller nations participating in the war could give out their arms, the more powerful countries would protect them. Roosevelt discussed the idea with the Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin, on how the disarmament process could be done. The following day during a tete-tete with Stalin, the President rolled out the idea of the four policemen.
The Soviet leader wanted the Chinese to have a role in matters of European interest. Still, FDR advised Stalin against that idea and said if that was to be the case, then the U.S. could not participate further in the following European committee that might have tried to dispatch troops from America to Europe. The comment by the U.S. leader confirmed that Eden was right when he said that the President was using the public feelings of the Americans for china to lead his people to accept international responsibilities (Glover et al. 29). The importance of that statement showed how a singular idea could connect people and nations worldwide. The idea would later culminate in the formation of the United Nations Committee that exists to date. The actions and thoughts that Roosevelt initiated were so impactful that their aftermaths are felt to this day. This was just one of his ideas to make the world a better place free of wars.
In The Myth of the Strong Leader, Brown describes FDR as the bringer of strong, dominant, and confident leadership to an unprecedented level for the presidential office. He made concrete actions by creating policy, developing programs, and being a forceful president through his use of the veto and other presidential powers. His terms saw an increase in control of the office of the President, being the first to usher in the ‘modern presidency.’ He even attempted to exercise his power in more authoritarian ways, such as trying to expand Supreme Court membership, albeit unsuccessfully (Brown 113).
However, despite his solid head-on style, Roosevelt applied a fair amount of democratic leadership with mixes of charismatic leadership. FDR is well-known for his ‘fireside chats, where he used the primary media tool of the time, the radio to communicate with citizens and fellow leaders across levels of government. He also realized that his vision could not be achieved solely by the power of the Presidency, as he called upon emergency sessions of Congress and found ways to work with the opposition in passing the critical socioeconomic policy to stimulate national growth for decades to come.
The critical perspective is that the mixed leadership style is relatively unique, potentially contributing to FDR’s popularity and his political success in solving major crises and issues facing the U.S. Modern leadership theory teaches that leaders must be flexible in moving effortlessly between styles to meet changing requirements of their subordinates and the external environment (“Federalism, the Roosevelt Coalition, and Civil Rights: FDR’s Political Leadership.” 179). However, in the 20th century, this was not the case. Leaders tended to demonstrate either the traditional approach by asserting power, as well-known in the examples of dictators such as Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini. Some leaders prefer a democratic or laissez-faire approach, preferring to fulfill the roles of the managers, but ultimately taking a diplomatic softer approach to policy creation and leadership, as was seen in the post-FDR presidents like Truman and Eisenhower (Brown 117).
FDR also adopted early concepts of what could be described as transformational leadership. Transformational leadership consists of leaders who identify needed change, create a vision to guide the evolution, and execute it competently. It also involves elements of democratic leadership since transformational leadership is only possible through close tandem with members of the group (Siangchokyoo et al. 1). When FDR came into office, he famously stated, “The country needs — and, unless I mistake its temper — the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another” (Bustin). FDR was known for taking the issues at hand at the time and providing an inspirational vision to arrive at the solutions to solve the problems. Not only did this generate excitement among both constituents and government officials, but it also demonstrated the ability of the President to collaboratively work with colleagues in a bipartisan team (Leuchtenburg 23). Ultimately, FDR’s unique ability to utilize and seamlessly switch among these mixed leadership styles, some of which were not even conceptualized at the time, allowed him to achieve efficiency and success on a level of true greatness in history.
While adapting to crisis while in office, Franklin Roosevelt displayed and focused on four main dimensions, leading with empathy, navigation of the business environment, creating a win-win situation, and self-correction and reflection. Heifetz and Minsky’s theory of adaptive leadership urges that adaptive leadership is a practice which a leader can use in the entire system to achieve the desired results. The idea urges adaptive leaders to embrace uncertainties among their subjects and possibly encourage every member of the organization to look for a suitable opportunity out of their fates. In leadership and empathy, leaders are encouraged to have some attitude on what they are to achieve and not create an atmosphere conducive to division.
The two theories in this paper that tries to explain the leadership of Franklin Roosevelt gives an insight of what adaptive leadership entails and offers the needed solution to leaders who are likely to operate in a hostile environment full of crisis. The similarities brought about by the theories encourages leaders to make decisions that offer solution to both parties and involve stakeholders in the adaptive process (Heifetz & Linsky 258). However, the two theories at a point tend to disagree as one encourages cooperation among leaders from within their region and beyond while the other does not promote cooperation between leaders.
When the United States went into the great depression, Franklin Roosevelt came with strategies to help the country. The New Deal was a program that was initiated to bring to an end on the great depression; through the guidance and leadership of FDR, people got the much-awaited help as the New Deal led to the creation of job opportunities. Even though the New Deal provided jobs for those who were jobless, protection after quitting service, and enhanced environmental productivity, it got the government in a severe mess in debts. One of the solutions to the great depression was to create jobs so that the citizens could have money. However, this was a short-term solution. Men were sent to the deserts to dig holes, and others would be later sent to fill up the same gaps; the practice only lasted a few months. The strategy proved to be meaningless as the digging and refilling of the holes had no economic significance but was only meant to create jobs so that people could earn money.
During the great depression, the rates of unemployment had scaled higher. Thus, there was a need to create jobs. Those who had retired from their jobs also needed to be protected from the effects of the economic depression; through the leadership of President Roosevelt, the social security system was devised where those who were of age sixty-five and above could benefit from the government’s income that was set aside for them. The funds were to help the elderly who could barely work but still had a mortgage. The New Deal program on regulation impacted the Great Depression positively; interest from banks, electricity, housing, and manufacturers was essential in recovering the debts caused by the stock market’s crashing.
The natural resources obtained as the land was being drilled helped the U.S. recover from the Great Depression. Even though the New Deal could be criticized for spending money on meaningless jobs done by the citizens, the citizens recovered and were able to afford the basics of life once more. The New Deal by President Franklin Roosevelt was influential during the Great Depression for good or bad reasons; considering the welfare of citizens who had retired was one major success of the program as well as creating jobs for the citizens. The New Deal proved to work after the trick down the philosophy of President Herbert Hoover flopped.
The third attribute of the theory is for correcting mistakes that could have occurred through reflections and leaders endeavoring to support experimentations; through experiments, a leader can potentially spot a mistake that is likely to occur during adaptation. The third dimension of the theory entails working as a team to achieve the desired success, just like FDR formed groups and task forces for various issues that the U.S. was facing during his tenure.
On the other hand, the Horgan theory majors on the adoptive maturity of leaders while they are making decisions during an adaptation. FDR was one leader who was good at making decisions because of the self-confidence he had. The theory appreciates the leadership responses and changes that are usually characterized by assimilation and accommodation. The leadership responses that this theory talks about are; cultural trap, natural selection, uncertainty, and adaption. One of the driving forces to the success of Franklin Roosevelt was culture; being culturally trapped prevents a leader from changing the environment, Franklin Roosevelt was a competent leader culturally, and it can be attributed to his success.
In natural selection, Horgan says that leaders should have a passive response adaptation, as in the case of Franklin Roosevelt. To make a decision that will be helpful, leaders need to know what is taking place around them; managing knowledge. The third response is when a leader is forced to make decisions when there is no sufficient information (Siangchokyoo et al. 5). Finally, the theory outlines the importance of involving the stakeholders who are within reach and those who are far away, the external stakeholders, while a leader is to make decisions of national importance. Franklin Roosevelt is one leader who, despite making decisions independently, was consulting widely either with those within the country or those in foreign countries. This continuous practice enhanced his leadership during his tenure as the U.S. president.
The two theories by Horgan and Heifetz and Minsky can be used to understand the leadership style of Franklin Roosevelt during his time as the President since the two theories look at adaptive leadership as a decision-making process. The theories endeavor to create a win-win situation in the process of solving a crisis. The theories emphasize the importance of a leader having a stand while making decisions; even though they can be advised on what to do, the final decision should come from them after evaluating the real crisis. The theory by Heifetz and Minsky states that it is as a result of decision-making that leaders can embrace uncertainty. When leaders do not make decisions, they will forever be afraid of changes and will not adapt.
The process of decision-making helps leaders to embrace their uncertainties, and they also develop the courage to motivate the rest to look for any available opportunities that will assist in achieving the needed change and performing experiments. Similarly, the Horgan theory on adaptive response states that it is at that same particular stage that leaders accommodate and get used to whatever is happening around them. The process of assimilation and accommodation helps leaders to make decisions having in mind the environment and the people who constitute the surroundings. Besides the environs and the people, a leader will also make decisions considering the stakeholder’s needs (Siangchokyoo et al. 7). The two theories tend to agree that for any leader to succeed in leading their countries out of the crisis, the first step is to make a decision.
The two theories also emphasize the creation of a win-win situation; when a country is in crisis, leaders in many cases seem to be confused and may lack the proper guidance to give. In most cases, when a problem is solved, one party ends up suffering from the solution. When faced with a crisis, most leaders weigh the possible outcomes of the decisions they are yet to take. While making decisions, the option that affects the minority will likely be picked to solve the crisis. However, during his leadership, Franklin Roosevelt tried by the possible means to always come with a solution that could benefit all parties that conflicted unless the crisis was a threat to national security.
While solving a dilemma, leaders are to look at the needs of the stakeholders and the context of the challenge. Lee says that zero-sum solutions should not always bind any adaptive leader, and they should resolve a crisis by a method that allows both warring parties to benefit. The implication of this is that while trying to solve a problem, leaders ought to look at the needs of the immediate context of the crisis and the stakeholders around the crisis. Lee’s argument can be seen to be in harmony with Heifetz and Minsky’s theory (Heifetz 259). The theory explains that the success of an organization is dependent to a greater extent on how the leaders relate with the network of stakeholders. Franklin Roosevelt ensured that he connected and maintained communications with various leaders and people, a factor that might have contributed to his success and being voted by some as the greatest President of America of all time.
Another notable similarity between the two theories is the focus on stakeholder’s importance in the success of leadership. Adaptive leadership relies on the stakeholders to achieve the intended success; President Franklin Roosevelt had to involve various stakeholders in the U.S. joining the Second World War and to which alliance they were to join. When they entered the Allied forces to fight the Axis Nations, it is because of the country’s key stakeholders that made them cause havoc in the Axis camp. Heifetz and Minsky’s theory discusses the significance of a leader having the ability to learn different perspectives and ideas of leadership. The ability to share the different views, and ideas of leadership is also another quality that a leader must have that will help in coaching and influencing their subjects, the stakeholders, and citizens.
While the Heifetz and Minsky theory focuses on adaptive leadership as a practice, the Hogan theory emphasizes that leadership entails decision-making. Franklin Roosevelt incorporated the two ideas in his leadership style, which in the end produced results. Heifetz and Minsky’s theory makes use of various groups that the ruler of an organized system has appointed to tackle some of the challenging issues that need to be addressed or plunge the country into a further crisis like the great depression (Heifetz 261). The theories look at leadership from an angle that it should give solutions and guidance in times of trouble; a leader should also adapt to a challenging environment while looking for ways to come up with a long-lasting solution to the problems.
However, the two theories seem to disagree, where the Heifetz and Minsky theory focuses on having a sense of empathy to create cooperation. In contrast, Horgan’s approach focuses on the importance of cultural competency to create collaboration rather than having to divide the nation to achieve the intended targets. An adaptive leader should be able to listen to and understand different opinions and decide on their own with confidence. FDR was such a leader that despite having the presidential advisors around him, he could still ignore their advice and take one of his own, which always turn to be positive. According to Horgan, a leader should be able to make decisions that are bound by the culture of that particular nation; this will enhance cooperation from the citizens and other stakeholders of the organizations they lead.
The post-war era saw the International System coming to a complete change from the classical 19th century systems. The new system was centered on Europe and partly the U.S. system, even for countries outside Europe and America; one of the countries that adopted the design was the United Arab Emirates. The plan worked on the principles of balance of power, war as a means, secret diplomacy, and new ways of policy formulation. The two world wars impacted the International System. With the end of the Second World War, the system went a rapid change in the manner that countries formulated foreign policies and the approach they gave to diplomatic leadership.
The Second World War ushered the rest of the world to a new leadership style and management approach. Before the war, only the European nations, especially Britain, France, Germany, and Italy, were the only countries with the most significant stake in world politics. The USA and the USSR, on the other hand, adhered to isolationism and were focused on the internal consolidation of the socialist system. With the defeats of the Germans and Italians, they became fragile. Britain and France were also weakened as a result of the losses they registered during the war (Lee 27). Therefore, the balance of power in Europe was destroyed, and a vacuum of power seemed to have engulfed Europe, thus losing its position as the epicenter of world politics. A weak Europe prompted the rise of nations in Asia and Africa as they seek to free themselves from the bondage of colonialism. The freedom led to an increase of new arrangements of political leadership in the United Arab Emirates.
The end of the world war gave birth to the United Nations, which encouraged the principle of non-interference in a country’s internal affairs. It promoted peaceful solutions to conflicts; this was a win for most countries that were considered smaller nations as they could formulate their policies regarding their relation to other states (Lee 13). The country’s first ruler, President HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, expressed the principles guiding UAE foreign policies. He believed in justice in all international dealings between states and the peaceful resolution of conflicts between nations. With the support of the United Nations, the UAE endeavors to support and reinforce the rule of international law, thus keeping the implementation of international conventions, which is after protecting the interests of the weak and powerless.
The UAE is one of the nations in the Gulf region that the U.S. and European countries rely on in the fight against terrorism. With the end of the wars and the exemplary leadership of FDR, the UAE provided the U.N., U.S., European Union, and the NATO forces access to ports and other territorial boundaries and any critical logistical assistance that they might require. The UAE has wholly joined the fight against terrorism by freezing accounts of known terrorists and has since enacted serious anti-money laundering initiatives (Adams 445). The United Arab Emirates joined the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Arab League, and the U.N., and all its agencies to conform to the resolutions of the U.N. after the end of the world wars.
In enhancing diplomatic leadership, the UAE has always been concerned with the international community’s inability to end the crisis and violence in Syria and the crimes that the past regimes have committed on their people. The UAE has fronted for a political approach to end the crisis in Syria (Lee 21). With the problem leading to the rise of refugees and a lot of Syrians being displaced, UAE is at the forefront to solve the situation in the most humanitarian way. The UAE has always assisted the Syrians by giving financial support and receiving displaced Syrians and giving them residence. The United Arab Emirates has supported Syria and extends the help to other needy and neighboring countries such as Israel, Palestine, Iran, and Afghanistan.
Therefore, it can be noted that the leadership of President Franklin Roosevelt, in collaboration with other world leaders from Europe, made a significant impact on the end of the world wars and achieving peace and stability in most of the countries thereafter. The war had adverse economic, political, and social effects even the countries that won the battles were affected by losses. The end of the war led to the formation of the United Nations, which in itself led to the opening up of the world to trade and free movement between countries (Adams 664). The Asian and African nations gained some strength in the fight for independence from their colonizers, who the war had weakened. The UAE, for instance, managed to formulate policies, and they embraced the approach of diplomacy in leadership.
Franklin D. Roosevelt is perhaps the most successful President the United States has ever had; this is worth commending. Roosevelt’s great leadership would start upon his assumption of office, it was during this time that the Americans were facing the great depression, he came with programs to end the great depression. The program that he would initiate to save people from sinking further into the depression was the new deal. The deal created jobs for the citizens, hence they got a way to earn their livelihood. It is not easy to lead a country in times of crisis and still be praised for exemplary leadership.
During his time as the President, the U.S. successfully did away with the crisis of the great depression with the creation of jobs in the New Deal. His success would further be noticed in how he handled the U.S. involvement in the Second World War as he coordinated with other European leaders to bring victory to their camp. Together with Joseph Stalin of the USSR and Winston Churchill of Britain, Roosevelt came with policies during the war and the post-war era that was helpful in the recovery of the continent after the world wars. The war had adverse effects on both sides of the alliances; those who were defeated were the most significant causalities as they lost economically, the lives of their citizens, and the war itself. Those who won the battle lost experienced economic breakdown, and many of their citizens lost their lives.
The bombing of the two cities of Japan, Nagasaki, and Hiroshima had severe impacts due to the rays emitted to the generation that lived then and after it. The severity of the war left many nations confused and wary of another potential world war; European leaders, who were primarily involved in the war, had to convene a meeting to prevent another possible world war. Even though he was not a European leader, Franklin Roosevelt was an integral force in the post-war era. They came together and drafted policies to protect the smaller nations from being mistreated by the more powerful nations. The League of Nations that was initially formed after the end of the First World War, did not prevent another world war. There was a need to create another organization that could help maintain peace and use a peaceful approach to conflict resolution. The United Nations was formed and has maintained world peace to date; the agreement achieved this in place among the leaders who had led their countries to the most significant war globally, which had economic effects that would take such a long time to recover.
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