Leadership is important in a world characterized by change and generational differences at workplace. Changes occur in organizations on various issues such as “impact of information and communication technology on social networking, the virtual working environment, multicultural teams and the impact of globalization” in the world. Transformational leadership is therefore instrumental in adapting organizations strategically to change at workplace. Effective leadership is measured by its ability to establish a sense of direction towards achieving the underlying vision and mission of an organization. Leadership aligns people towards the right perspective in thinking and organizing activities. Through the facilitation of transformational leadership, effective communication is established at workplace on various issues. Communication is important for sharing ideas, concepts and principles at workplace. Transformational leaders ensure are therefore instrumental in motivating and inspiring followers towards achieving organizational goals and tasks. Transformational leadership is characterized by “trust and self understanding of the organizational culture”. Transformational leaders therefore promote innovation, product development and technology transfer in organizations.
Transformational leadership is follower-based leadership. It is characterized by charismatic notions and altruistic tendencies which inspire followers to be creative and innovative at work. The performance of followers is lifted above the expected standards towards innovation. The altruistic tendencies of the leader stimulate innovative potential among followers. Altruistic leadership is characterized by “follower autonomy, self-direction and personal development” (Ali, Taqi, Krishnan, 1997). Transformational leaders are therefore capable of formulating and communicating the right vision for their organizations to followers. Transformational leaders exhibit qualities such as charisma, self-confidence, altruism and recognition of followers’ needs. They are capable of applying the most appropriate communication style in explaining vision and mission of their organizations to different cadres of subordinates. Communication styles consist of either verbal or expressive fashions.
A transformational leader stimulates creative imagination and opportunistic thinking among followers by utilizing an integrated approach where organizational objectives are highlighted together with the mutual concern for workers’ needs. Transformational leadership is therefore directly associated with “increased profit margins, project quality, follower performance and acceptance for change”. The ability of a charismatic leader to delegate organization tasks to subordinates serves to motivate followers to achieve high degree of self-confidence as well as positively impacts on their innovation potential. Managerial effectiveness and transformational leadership are closely related. Managerial effectiveness is progressively attained through a continuous demonstration of “higher internal locus of control” over organization activities and project performance (Arnold et al, 2001).
This refers to the ability of an organization to generate creative ideas among its workforce towards the realization of their goals. Leadership plays a central role in stimulating innovation among employees. Transformational leadership facilitates the process of generating new ideas from followers by inducing excitement and enthusiasm among subordinates (Avery, 2004). Creative ideas are effectively generated within functional workplace groups. Transformational leaders recognize the role of each and every employee in attaining group objectives particularly through sharing of ideas. Group performance is enhanced through high levels of morale and enthusiasm among followers. Morale is an important ingredient of effective industrial relations and human resource management. Employees whose morale has been boosted are more satisfied and motivated to work together. Team spirit is enhanced through high levels of cohesion among group members. This process requires that transformational leaders are in charge of the various group processes until its maturation.
Morale boosts group cohesion by creating necessary awareness among team members about common goals and terms of engagement. A sense of common purpose is achieved which then directs group members’ activities towards a common goal. This is referred to as synergy. Synergy makes reference to high energy levels of group cohesion and interaction (Bass& Avolio, 2009). Transformational leaders and groups are therefore more synchronized in their approach for undertaking group activities. Essentially, transformational leaders mediate the realization of an enabling environment for group performance effectiveness. This is often observed in the military where different units of soldiers are directed towards a common purpose through a spirit of morale. For instance military units defending a nation are inspired by patriotism and heroism as they approach the battlefield. Military officers are relentless in their pursuit for peace and territorial integrity even to death. The military squadron is the mediating factor for group bonding and high levels of morale. The future outcome exhibited by peace and tranquility is group referenced. Soldiers are therefore motivated to fight as conquerors but within defined military units. This establishes order and a sense of purpose which minimizes the number of causalities in the battlefield while it facilitates efficient provision of supplies to independent soldiers in need. Transformational leaders are therefore skillful in directing followers’ energy and intellect towards achieving organizational objectives (Bass, 2005).
Transformational leaders empower followers to work independently with greater accountability and responsibility. Delegated authority defines transformational leadership style. Innovation and creativity is developed through processes which promote generation of new ideas. As such, transformational leaders initiate the process by empowering followers to generate ideas from various angles of thinking. They provide an atmosphere where group members are free to share different opinions on an issue without fear of reprisals. Essentially, transformational leaders act as facilitators of group performance by identifying different intersections in group processes (Bass, Avolio& Goodheim, 2007). By entrusting followers with tasks of higher responsibility, transformational leaders exhibit confidence in subordinates’ potential to perform. Group leaders are equally granted opportunities to develop their leadership potential and skills by guiding team members on activities of mutual benefit. Opportunistic thinking is therefore stimulated among followers as they strive to achieve high performance ratings in their delegated responsibilities. Self-confidence and self-esteem is developed among individual employees in their designated appointments where they need to account for time and resources at their disposal. Tasks are effectively done in an environment characterized by minimum supervision and higher levels of responsibility.
High performance ratings
Transformational leaders design potent goals and objectives for high performance ratings. They lead by influence and contribution of followers. They are inspired to lead from the motivation they receive from concerned followers. Transformational leaders experience greater morale levels from group processes which enhance increased involvement of followers in organizational activities. High performance targets are conceived from the satisfaction and cohesion that employees experience in their daily workplace operations. Transformational leaders are not alone in pursuit of greater objectives at workplace. They are democratic enough to engage individual workers in designing realistic goals for various tasks (Beck& Yeager, 2001). This entails designing achievable goals and realistic time frames through which different tasks are and goals are effectively implemented. Leaders and followers motivate and inspire each other for the mutual benefit.
Transformational leaders are charismatic in their relationship with subordinates and in discharging their managerial duties. They are passionate about the wellbeing of their subordinate team in achieving organizational goals within the underlying culture. Charisma drives them to uphold human rights and social justice within organizations (Bryman, 2010). They are concerned about the welfare of their subordinates. Essentially, they lead by being considerate enough to understand the challenges facing their followers. Leadership decisions factor into consideration the various issues which the workforce are confronted with in life. Transformational leadership therefore ensures that relationships are not interfered with in the course of workers discharging their duties. For instance law enforcement officers are constantly faced with the challenge of impromptu transfers which separate them from their families. Transformational leadership seeks to ensure that police officers are reunited with their families for their emotional wellbeing immediately after undertaking assignments abroad.
Leadership and innovation
Effective leadership is an important ingredient of innovative organizations. Effective leaders possess a developed style of corporate communication when making presentations on the strategic importance of innovation to organization. Leaders are judged by their deeds and not just words since innovation demands for substantial commitment and consistence. Innovation is therefore achieved a resilient organizational culture. This culture is characterized by values and behaviors which are consistent with the objectives of the organization in the long term. Sincerity and honesty are therefore at the very core of successful leadership and innovation (Hartog& Van Muijen, 1997). Supportive innovation is about the sharing of ideas guided by the vision outlined by the leader.
The leader is therefore expected to inspire followers towards focusing on the vision and also defines the most appropriate language for deconstruction of the diverse ideas. The vision provides the roadmap for assigning of roles and tasks in tandem with the objectives of organizations. The leader ensures that the point of focus in these relevant processes and structures are put in place for the envisaged visions to be materialized. The task of fulfilling a leader’s vision is not the preserve of the leader alone but can only be achieved through exchange of ideas and appropriate processing of the different levels of innovation. Teamwork is very important for developing synergy of common purpose and processing of leadership discourses. The leader ensures that followers’ ideas are processed from the organization’s perspective, challenges and goals (House& Aditya, 1997).
It is the role of the leader to organize a structure where different ideas from each and every employee are captured and developed through established processes. Leader also processes submitted ideas and conveys feedback appropriately and in a timely manner. Feedback should be communicated to employees openly for further processing of the final decision. It is vision that is used as a yardstick for benchmarking decision making processes of the various ideas from employees. Ideas which are not consistent with the established vision are discarded for purposes of proper management of resources. To this end, leaders should be outgoing enough to encourage employees to express their ideas freely.
Leaders are also assertive enough to seek for alternative ideas outside their organizations in support of the vision agenda. Exciting ideas are therefore collected from all the stakeholders interested in realization of the vision. According to the complexity theory, the greater number of participant interactions, the greater is the magnitude of the outcomes from ideas and opinions (Raelin, 2003). Innovation is developed from an elaborate process of deconstructing diverse ideas based on the vision agenda. The leader should therefore develop supportive communication tools that emphasize the vision and his/her commitment to the vision. The innovative leader is quite categorical on the selection criterion for ideas whether incremental or radical in support of the vision.
Ideas are therefore processed through an established standard selection criterion with respect to innovation (Pearce& Sims, 2002). The manner in which communication of ideas is conveyed should influence positive decision making by management. Presentation of ideas should be concise to the point and in tandem with vision. Leadership and innovation should exploit all the preferences concerned. Traditionally, management may be more comfortable with preservation of the status quo with a bias for incremental innovation. Radical innovation is perceived as uncertain and ambiguous however logical and rational it could be. Internal management could therefore subscribe to incremental innovation that supports the traditional structures and policies of the organization. As much as the complexity of ideas is a contributing factor of innovation, the radical perspective can only be achieved through passionate thinking in decision making and processing of ideas. The numbers do not adequately support radical innovation over incremental innovation except if successful entrepreneurs are brought on board from outside the organization. In essence, challenge and opportunity for innovation are cultivated by open-minded people with a risk preference and passion for entrepreneurship.
Workplace learning and organization’s performance
Workplace promotes development of relevant job skills and expertise required for effective job performance. New employees should be further trained on various job-related principles and organizational culture in order to get them acquainted with job requirements (House& Aditya, 1997). Job satisfaction and performance is a product of effective employee training programs at workplace. Quality training programs facilitate employees to execute their duties better. Lack of training causes employees to develop a negative effect in performing job-related activities. Training equips workers with crucial management tools and technical knowhow on their jobs. As such, employee satisfaction and retention is a product of effective training programs and management practices. Untrained employees exhibit high levels of job dissatisfaction leading to reduced retention of workers.
Workplace learning is a manifestation of the commitment of management to quality services and high productivity. Workers are therefore inspired to achieve established performance targets as a way of developing their skills, experience and knowledge about their jobs and careers. Employee training, further education and experiential learning enhance workers’ potential to achieve desired performance targets. Workplace learning also facilitates exchange of crucial ideas among personnel which promotes decision making and problem solving interventions. Relationships developed during training programs between workers and managers promotes development of positive work perceptions, values, ethics and experiences which are consistent with objectives of an organization (Raelin, 2003).
The degree to which learning takes place at workplace should be proportional to the desired standards of competencies and skills acquisition. Employees’ professional capacities and skills acquisition is developed as workplace learning is reinforced. Trainer-trainee programs should lead to greater interaction of an organization’s workforce for the purpose of developing a common culture at workplace. Evaluation of various employee training programs is essential if performance targets can be realized. Managers need to undertake surveys on different parameters of workplace learning in order to determine level of efficacy and achievement. A key parameter of employee training programs refers to the attitudes of workers towards the training programs and job contexts. It is important for employees to develop a positive attitude towards assigned duties without which organizational performance is poorly rated. Positive job attitude is a reflection of job satisfaction and skill acquisition as far as workplace learning is concerned (Pearce& Sims, 2002).
Different job contexts demand for different skills, competencies and experience. Workplace learning enhances the process of acquiring relevant skills and competencies for various jobs in line with industry standards. The dynamic globalized workplace demands that employees are equipped with new skills beyond their job descriptions. Organization performance and competitiveness is enhanced when work environments are flexible enough to allow for creation and development of ideas and skills that match with international standards. Change is inevitable in the world of business. Workplace learning facilitates acquisition of relevant skills which help employees adapt to various changes in the industry and the market.
Information transfer and interpretation from the myriad facets of knowledge is essential for developing work experiences. In the current information age, employees need to be constantly updated on new trends in order to position themselves strategically for harnessing the best potential out of the knowledge pool. The manner in which information is collected and disseminated between different cadres of an organization promotes creation of awareness among the workforce on current state of affairs. Organizations which remain competitive in the market are those which possess structural frameworks that facilitate generation of ideas as well as harnessing of relevant information. It is therefore necessary that important channels of harnessing and distribution of knowledge are established in organizations in order to create useful networks for learning to take place.
Managers are principally responsible for collecting relevant external information which can be used to enhance performance of their organizations. This information is subsequently transformed and interpreted appropriately for the benefit of the organization. Such data could be collected on market trends, technological standards, socio-political and environmental spheres. For instance, market segmentation is important for companies to develop strategies in dealing with competitors. A proper assessment of the legal environment helps organizations to adapt themselves to legal regulations and policies which apply to their processes, structure and products. Government regulations and licensing, labor policies and industry standards are constantly updated in order to ensure the market is free and fair. Environmental issues should also be dealt with appropriately. Labor provisions and best practices should also be made aware to organizations from time to time in order to enhance smooth operations organizations. This external information needs to be updated for effective running of organizations. Workplace learning therefore entails organizing this external information into practical application for organizations. Managers are therefore responsible for aligning their organizations with regulations and provisions of government from time to time.
On the other hand, managers are also expected to inform the public particularly customers about their organizations. Internal information regarding products and mission of an organization is essential for creating the necessary public image for an organization. Workplace learning therefore entails updating workforce about what an organization stands for and its niche markets in order to exploit its potential. Employees are therefore informed about best practices in organizational behavior. Networks are established for communicating ideas and process relevant for achieving organizational goals. The management explores vision and mission for an organization in detail as workplace takes effect. New employees are trained about organizational behavior and culture as they acquainted with best practices.
Work experience is developed as employees are involved in executing their tasks. Hands-on experience in different tasks at workplace as employees develops their skills on various processes at work. Practical skills are developed as individual employees work out different tasks. Job contexts demand for proper understanding of underlying principles and concepts for its operations. Workplace learning facilitates acquisition of theoretical concepts and practical experiences relevant for smooth running of organizations. Performance-based targets are designed based on the understanding that employees are thoroughly equipped with job skills and experiences for achieving organizational goals with ease (Beck& Yeager, 2001).
Job contexts which demand for specialization call for sustainable development of relevant competencies in the specific line of operation. Job learning therefore entails updating oneself with concepts which promote progressive specialization in line with underlying performance targets. The modern globalized workplace demands for multi-tasking. Employees are therefore expected to adopt different skills to enable them multi-task at work. As such, employees working in an organization’s technical department can therefore develop their skills in line with their specialty as well as strive to acquire managerial skills for leadership responsibilities.
Workplace learning also takes place through groups and teams which enhance development of strong attributes related to job contexts. Teamwork facilitates development of leadership skills, communication skills, project development and socialization. Projects are assigned to individual teams in order to develop their capacity to handle tasks with defined schedules and timelines. The team leader coordinates various activities with group members in order to achieve goals and objectives of the organization (Mitchell, Ortiz& Mitchell, 2007). Group members enhance their communication skills as they socialize with other in different capacities. Experiential learning and social development helps employees and managers to enhance their self-esteem and self-confidence. The capacity to undertake tasks from a common ground helps individual employees to develop their careers and personal goals. Since they are inspired and motivated to achieve goals and objectives at workplace, they are also facilitated to achieve personal goals which leads to self-actualization (Bass, Avolio& Goodheim, 2007). According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, employees are satisfied if their basic needs relating to security, emotional wellbeing and quality of life is achieved. Workplace learning therefore facilitates creation of an enabling environment of fruitful interaction between employers and employees for their mutual benefit.
Leadership is an important feature of management in business organizations. Leadership and management are terms which are usually used interchangeably although they are derived from different concepts. Managers perform their duty through administrative implementation while leaders inspire and motivate followers to achieve organizational outcomes. Managers’ administration function is implemented through “organizing, planning, staffing, directing and controlling” responsibilities (Chemer, 2007). Leadership is a factor of the directing function. As such, managers are expected to exercise leadership in their administrative duties. However, effective managers need formal authority in order to administer organizational outcomes. Formal authority cannot be delegated while leadership roles can be integrated with followers’ contribution.
Ali, A, Taqi, A. and Krishnan, K. (1997). “Individualism, Collectivism, and Decision Styles of Managers in Kuwait”. The Journal of Social Psychology 137, no. 5 (March), London.
Arnold, J, Arad, S, Rhoades, J, & Drasgow, F. (2001). The empowering leadership questionnaire: the construction and validation of a new scale for measuring leader behaviors. Journal of management 17, New York.
Avery, G. (2004).Understanding Leadership: Paradigms and Cases. Sage: London.
Bass, B, Avolio, B, & Goodheim, L. (2007). Biography and the assessment of transformational leadership at the world class level. Journal of Management, London.
Bass, B. (2005).Leadership & Performance beyond Expectations. New York: Free Press,
Bass, B. and Avolio, B. (2009).Potential biases in leadership measures: How prototypes, leniency, & general satisfaction relate to ratings & rankings of transformational & transactional leadership constructs. Educational & Psychological Measurement, Dubai.
Beck, J. & Yeager, N. (2001).The leader’s Window: Mastering the four styles of leadership to build high performing teams, Davies-Black Publishing, California.
Bryman, A. (2010). Charisma & Leadership in Organizations. London: Sage.
Burn, J. 2002.Leadership, New York: Harper & Row.
Chemer, M. (2007). An integrative theory of leadership. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Mahwah, New Delhi.
Conti, B, & Kleiner, B. (2010). How to increase teamwork in organizations. London, Training for quality.
Drath, W. (2001). The Deep Blue Sea: Rethinking the Source of Leadership San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
Ford, D, and Harris, J. (2002). “The elusive definition of creativity”, Journal of Creativity, Berlin.
Godard, A. and Lenhardt, V. (2000). Transformational leadership: Shared dreams to succeed. New York: Palgrave.
Goleman, D. (2000). Leadership that gets results. New York: Harvard Business Review, (March/April).
Harris, P. and Harris, K. (1996). Managing effectively through teams; Team Performance Management, Paris.
Hartog, D, and Van Muijen, J. (1997). Transactional versus transformational leadership: An analysis of the MLQ. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, London.
House, R, and Aditya, R. (1997). The social scientific study of leadership: Quo Vadis? Journal of Management, 23, New York.
Inkson, and Clinton, D. (2004).Cultural intelligence: people skills for global business. San Francisco: Berrett-Kiehler Publishers.
Klein, G, and Pierce, L. (2001).Adaptive Teams: in Proceedings of the 6th International Command and Control Research and Technology Symposium, Berlin.
Larson, C, and LaFasto, M. (1998).Teamwork: what must go right, what can go wrong? New York: Sage.
Maheshwari, B. (2000). Decision Styles and Organizational Effectiveness. New Delhi: Vikas Publishing.
Manz, C, & Sims, P. (1991). Super leadership: Beyond the myth of heroic leadership. Organizational Dynamics, Brussels.
Mitchell, T. K. Ortiz, F. I. & Mitchell, D. E. (2007). Work Orientation and Job Performance: the Cultural Basis of Teaching Rewards and Incentives. New York: SUNY Press.
Nurmi, R. (1996). Teamwork and team leadership. Washington: Team performance management.
Ogbonna, E, and Lloyd, C. (2000).Leadership style, organizational culture and performance: empirical evidence from UK companies. International Journal of Human Resource Management, London.
Pearce, C, & Sims, H. (2002). Vertical versus shared leadership as predictors of the effectiveness of change management terms: An examination of Aversive, Directive, Transactional, Transformational, and Empowering Leader behaviors. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research and Practice, New York.
Raelin, J. (2003).How to Bring out Leadership in Everyone. Journal of Management, Paris.