The interviewee’s leadership style is transformational leadership: her goal is to inspire employees’ commitment to the institution. The core characteristic of a transformational leader is to influence employees’ values, aspirations, priorities, and commitment and ensure that they align with the company’s goals and vision. According to Bright et al. (2019), a transformational leader (TL) should have the ability to influence employees to accept the company’s vision as their own.
Another trait that identified the interviewee as a TL relates to how she initiates and implements change in the organization. She manages change by creating a vision, inspiring workers, and guiding the team towards achieving the vision. She revealed that since employees are not always open to accept the change; she typically challenges the status quo by inspiring employees to adopt new perspectives. She encourages them to apply creative thinking skills and find innovative ways of executing change-related tasks within the organization.
The leader’s role in the organization is to create positive relationships and influence employees towards achieving organizational goals. She does not believe in hierarchical leadership or authoritative styles. She believes that these leadership styles are detrimental to the organization, given that positive manager-employee relationships are crucial for success given the current organizational culture. When asked about her opinion regarding the leader-follower relationship within the organization, she asserts that it aligns with the path-goal theory. The theory states that a leader-follower relationship is integral in organizational success (Behrendt, Matz, & Göritz, 2017).
The leaders’ consideration behaviors are characterized by open communication and respect for followers’ opinions, feelings, and values. According to the theory, these leader’s consideration behaviors will build trust and mutual respect, influencing employees’ acceptance of the leader (Behrendt et al., 2017). This way, the leader can easily influence employees towards sharing their vision for the company.
The interviewee engages employees in problem-solving and decision-making to stimulate their creative thinking skills further. This practice is ground on the intellectual stimulation precept, a primary TL component. The transformational leader empowers and supports employees to develop autonomy through intellectual stimulation (Choi et al., 2016). She also noted the importance of attending to employees’ individual needs.
She reported that each employee’s effort contributes towards the achievement of organizational goals. However, she recognizes that each follower has unique abilities, proficiencies, knowledge, and needs. Therefore, she supports each according to their capability and motivates them to achieve their individual goals. Individualized consideration is a transformational leadership characteristic where the leader recognizes and supports the unique needs of each follower.
The respondent further revealed that she does not always solve employees’ conflicts; instead, she allows them to find solutions to the problems independently. When asked about her personal beliefs, she asserted that a leaders’ job is to be a role model to the employees. This characteristic is a form of idealized influence where the leader becomes his followers’ role model by engaging in ethical behaviors.
Given that human capital is one of the most critical organizational resources, leaders need to implement effective strategies to attract and retain highly qualified employees. Motivation has been identified as a deterministic feature that can lead to employee retention by empirical research and theoretical underpinnings. A study conducted by Varma (2017) showed that lack of motivation could lead to high turnover rates, absenteeism, low performance, low morale, and minimal orientation towards organizational objectives.
Employee motivation is based on the assumption that inner drive will influence individual behaviors and feelings. An individual’s internal drive or needs influence their efforts to reach those goals. Maslow’s motivation theory states that the five primary needs drive an individual’s behavior: physiological needs, safety needs, self-actualization, love and belonging, esteem needs.
The leader revealed that she motivates her employees by providing incentives. She claims that she awards employees for achieving the set goals. Through individualized consideration, the leader first ascertains employees’ personal goals and then identifies what benefits the organization can offer to satisfy those goals (self-actualization needs). The leader also motivates employees by creating a conducive and supportive work environment that encourages growth. She ensures that the physical working environment is clean and occupational safety standards are upheld. The physical environment meets the employees’ need to be safe from any harm (safety needs).
She also provides training and career development opportunities. According to Varma (2017), this strategy significantly improves job satisfaction and reduces turnover. It also inspires employees’ need for growth and development to become something more in life.
Similarities and Differences in Leadership Style
The similarity between my leadership style (servant leadership) and transformational leadership is that we are both people-oriented. Servant leaders’ responsibility is to serve their followers and put their needs before their own. Likewise, TL focuses on attending to the employees’ individual needs (Allen et al., 2016). Both leadership styles also believe in shared decision-making, commitment to people’s growth, and building follower-leader relationship (Allen et al., 2016). Most importantly, both leaders share the same attributes, i.e., mutual respect, trust, empathy, and listening. The difference between the two leadership approaches is that servant leaders focus primarily on followers, while transformational leaders focus on the organization (Allen et al., 2016). A servant leader influences by serving employees’ needs and providing resources, whereas a TL uses persuasion and modeling.
Leadership Success and Challenges
The TL has three primary success indicators: employees’ growth, engagement (measures motivation), and organizational outcomes. According to Choi et al. (2016), employees can achieve optimal performance due to the transformational leader’s influence and inspiration, enabling workers to transcend their self-interest for a higher purpose. The leader’s idealized influence can improve employee job satisfaction, a behavior associated with high performance and organizational commitment (Choi et al., 2016). The TL’s inspirational motivation helps the employee realize meaningfulness; hence, motivating them to achieve better performance. The leaders’ persuasion and shared decision-making practice empower and influence followers’ job perception; thus, reducing stress and work-related conflicts.
The challenge with transformational leadership is that it requires consistent leadership presence to work. The leadership style requires a continuous flow of communication, cooperation, and coordination for optimal performance to be achieved. For example, a leader may influence followers to make substantial changes, but they need constant support throughout the process. Naturally, people are resistant to change, and the TL’s constant need to transform people’s behaviors, values, and needs for the organization’s sake can breed hostility, resistance, and insubordination. TL’s role of influencing followers’ towards accepting their vision fosters the “good for everyone” assumption, hindering growth and functional work environment.
Maslow’s theory asserts that people have a life mission that drives their energy, and attaining this mission will result in satisfaction. In contrast, dissatisfaction with this mission will lead to the need dominating over the person’s personality or behavior (Varma, 2017). A TL motivates employees by helping them achieve the self-actualization need by assisting them to use their competence, abilities, and skills to contribute to the organization’s goals. Self-actualized people are aware of their personal goals and are devoted to achieving them. In this case, the leader’s role is to align the followers’ personal goals with that of the organization. An employee can satisfy their self-actualization need when their goals are achieved; hence, become motivated.
Power involves the dyadic relationship between the leader and the follower. It entails the factors that influence the leader’s behavior to exert power and the follower s’ reaction towards the leader’s behavior. In this case, the TL uses referent and expert power to influence and persuade employees to share her organizational goals. Referent power refers to employees’ acceptance of the leader’s because of the respect they have for them and the desire to emulate the leader. As mentioned earlier, the leader influences and inspires employees by acting as a role model (idealized influence). Idealized influence requires the leader to act in a manner that will inspire followers to emulate them.
Organizational Mission and Values
The leader should work on her conflict management strategies to improve organizational performance. Her conflict management style is avoiding, allowing involved parties to resolve the conflict by themselves. She uses this strategy as a way of nurturing problem-solving and creativity skills. However, empirical research has shown that overusing the avoiding strategy negatively impacts team performance and cohesion (Levi, 2015).
If conflict is not managed constructively, it can create strong negative emotions between employees, increase stress, reduce coordination, and destroy relationships (Levi, 2015). It also creates winners versus losers, which will breed animosity and destructive competition, and task conflicts between staff.
Therefore, the leader should adopt an effective conflict management strategy. The collaboration approach can lead to a win-win situation as it satisfies both parties and encourages cooperation (Levi, 2015). However, the collaboration strategy will not always be the gold standard in practice as some conflicts require quick resolutions, while others demand accommodation. The leader should always analyze the situation and implement the right strategy as needed.
Allen, G. P., Moore, W. M., Moser, L. R., Neill, K. K., Sambamoorthi, U., & Bell, H. S. (2016). The role of servant leadership and transformational leadership in academic pharmacy. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 80(7), 1–7. Web.
Behrendt, P., Matz, S., & Göritz, A. S. (2017). An integrative model of leadership behavior. The Leadership Quarterly, 28(1), 229–244. Web.
Bright, D. S., Cortes, A. H., Hartmann, E., Parboteeah, K. P., Pierce, J. L., Reece, M., & O’Rourke, J. S. (2019). Principles of management. Houston: OpenStax.
Choi, S. L., Goh, C. F., Adam, M. B. H., & Tan, O. K. (2016). Transformational leadership, empowerment, and job satisfaction: The mediating role of employee empowerment. Human Resources for Health, 14, 1–14. Web.
Levi, D. (2015). Group dynamics for teams (5th ed.). Oakland: Sage Publications.
Varma, C. (2017). Importance of employee motivation & job satisfaction for organizational performance. International Journal of Social Science & Interdisciplinary Research, 6(2), 10 – 20. Web.
Interview Questions and Responses
How would you describe your leadership style?
I would describe my leadership or management style as transformational. My goal is to inspire employees’ commitment to the institution.
What attributes do you think are most important in a leader?
A good leader should influence employees’ values, aspirations, priorities, and commitment to align with the company’s goals and vision.
What are the primary roles of a leader within an organization?
The leader’s role in the organization is to create positive relationships and influence employees towards achieving organizational goals.
How do you manage change within the organization?
I manage change by creating a vision, inspiring workers, and guiding them towards achieving the objectives.
Which leadership styles do you perceive as detrimental to an organization’s success?
I do not believe in hierarchical leadership or authoritative styles. I perceive them as being detrimental to the organization, given that positive manager-employee relationships are crucial for success given the current organizational culture.
What is your opinion regarding the leader-follower relationship?
Regarding the leader-follower relationship within the organization, I am absolutely sure that it aligns with the path-goal theory.
How do you promote an innovative culture within your department?
I often challenge the status quo by inspiring employees to adopt new perspectives. I typically encourage them to apply creative thinking skills to find innovative ways of executing change-related tasks within the organization. I also engage employees in problem-solving and decision-making procedures to stimulate their creative thinking.
What are the most important skill and attribute that makes you an excellent leader?
As a transformational leader, I often employ strategies that aim to influence employees’ values, aspirations, priorities, and commitment and ensure that they align with the company’s goals and vision.
How do you motivate your team?
I motivate my subordinates by providing incentives: I award them for achieving their personal goals. I also ensure that the workplace surrounding is conducive and it supports and encourages growth. I ensure that the physical working environment is clean and occupational safety standards are upheld. I also provide training and career development opportunities.
How do you handle conflicts between co-workers?
I do not always solve employees’ conflicts; instead, I allow them to find solutions to the problems independently.