Leadership is an essential factor that affects organizational development and increases the overall productivity of all employees. The two most prominent models are transactional and transformational leadership theories (Odumeru & Ifeanyi, 2013). These styles adopt two different approaches to organizational culture and positive change. Transactional leadership emphasizes the stability of the system and stimulates the employees through rewards and punishments (Odumeru & Ifeanyi, 2013). On the other hand, the transformational model inspires the team members based on certain ideals and personal attention (Odumeru & Ifeanyi, 2013). As a result, it requires a passionate and dedicated leader who wishes to inflict a positive change in either organization or the whole society. The current paper presents an overview of transformational leadership and uses it to explain the success of Ms. Haifa Alhamazani in changing the perspectives of a conservative society.
Transformational Leadership Overview
Leadership is generally recognized as a critical characteristic of improving organizational performance. Transformational leadership revolves around a charismatic leader and emphasizes the motivation of employees to improve overall productivity (Eliyana et al., 2019). From these considerations, the leader should have a large variety of competencies, such as determination, openness to dialogue and new ideas, flexibility, and decision-making capability (Hansbrough & Schyns, 2018). Furthermore, the leader should be knowledgeable in the operated areas and be ready to share their experience with all team members. Consequently, the employees feel more comfortable in the workspace, which allows for creative ideas and innovative approaches. Additionally, according to the theory, the leader’s behavior should inspire people to make autonomous decisions that align with the mission of the organization (Nugroho et al., 2020). Overall, these characteristics can be explained by the rule of four: idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration (Diaz-Saenz, 2011). Ultimately, the transformational theory implies that the leader is both the role model that motivates the employees and a team member that acts in the best interests of the organization.
Differences in Transactional Theory
The major difference between the transformational and transactional theories is that the former focuses on teambuilding and allows more creative freedom. On the other hand, the transactional model emphasizes control and stability by stimulating the employees with a system of rewards and punishments (Odumeru & Ifeanyi, 2013). It is an efficient framework in organizations that focus on established processes under-regulated supervision. However, it is not an appropriate choice for companies that require innovative approaches in exploratory areas. Ms. Haifa Alhamazani attempts to change the perspectives of conservative society and implement a completely new outlook on female driving. In this sense, transactional theory, which is mostly used to maintain the existing work process, is not an appropriate model to adopt. On the other hand, the creative approach, favored by the transformational theory, might significantly help Ms. Haifa Alhamazani to make a positive change in society and empower women in regard to driving.
As mentioned briefly before, the current paper focuses on Ms. Haifa Alhamazani – an inspiring woman who became the director of the first female driving school in Ḥāʼil and changed the conservative perspectives of society. In the interview presented in Appendix A, Ms. Haifa Alhamazani shares information about her work life and leadership qualities. From the start of her career, Ms. Haifa Alhamazani worked as a leader and made every effort to inflict positive change. First, it was an English language institution, where Alhamazani learned a large variety of leadership skills by trial and error. Consequently, she worked as a human resource (HR) manager in a medical center in Ḥāʼil. At present, she is the director of the first female driving school, which is deemed controversial in the conservative society. As a result, within the five years of working in leadership positions, Ms. Haifa Alhamazani has become a great leader and is capable of making a positive change.
Application of the Theory
Having discussed the underlying principles of transformational leadership, it is possible to analyze why Ms. Haifa Alhamazani is a good leader from this model’s perspective. As mentioned briefly before, the center characteristics of the theory are focus on innovative ideas, teamwork, the autonomy of employees in decision-making, and unparalleled social competencies of the leader. The paragraphs below transparently demonstrate why Ms. Haifa Alhamazani can be considered a good and respectable leader in the framework of the transformational theory.
Objectives and Innovative Ideas
Currently, Ms. Haifa Alhamazani is the director of the first female driving school in Ḥāʼil. Needless to say, women driving is still considered a highly controversial topic in society, and many people have difficulties adjusting to this reality. However, Ms. Haifa Alhamazani advocates for gender equality concerning this issue and makes every effort to change the existing policies. Focus on new ideas and innovative approach is central to the transformational theory, and Alhamazani ensures that all employees are open to new prospects. In the interview, she mentions, ‘we had many differences between several employees because “women driving” is a new issue in this city and not all of them have faith in what they were doing’ (Appendix A). Nevertheless, Ms. Haifa Alhamazani succeeded in uniting the staff members for a common objective that ensures that every woman in society can learn how to drive. These results transparently illustrate transformational leadership qualities, such as charisma, determination, and focus on positive change.
Ms. Haifa Alhamazani demonstrates unique personal characteristics, such as openness to dialogue, stress management, loyalty to staff members, and compassion, which are frequently associated with the transformational theory. The research demonstrates that emotionality, extraversion, charisma, and conscientiousness are among the most significant factors that determine the appeal of the leader (Hansbrough & Schyns, 2018). In the interview, she says, ‘I explain those ideas to them openly and honestly’ and ‘I communicate clearly and give any necessary guidance’ (Appendix A). This demonstrates her willingness to be transparent with employees and make their work as comfortable and efficient as possible. From these considerations, Ms. Haifa Alhamazani can be rightfully considered a role model for the rest of the employees and motivate them to achieve higher goals.
However, Ms. Haifa Alhamazani also notes that she is not a born leader but rather acquired these competencies through hard work and observation. The fact that Alhamazani can relate to hard labor makes her even closer to other employees, and they can accept her not only as a leader but also as a team member. Mutual understanding between the supervisor and employees is another significant factor of the transformational theory, which improves the overall productivity of the group (Diaz-Saenz, 2011). In the interview, Ms. Haifa Alhamazani gives the following advice, ‘Be present for your staff. Be there for them, build up a strong bond with them’ (Appendix A). As a result, Alhamazani was able to organize a productive but humane and caring team, which is the central focus of transformational leadership.
Collective motivation or organizational identification is also one of the determinants of transformational leadership. Experts frequently note that the leader should be able to make the whole team believe in the righteousness and good cause of the mission (Diaz-Saenz, 2011). In turn, the employees work not only in self-interest but also make additional efforts for the sake of the organization. This phenomenon is generally referred to as collective mission or organizational identification, and it is the responsibility of the leader to ensure this attitude (Goswami et al., 2018). In turn, this approach improves the overall job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and productivity of the team (Eliyana et al., 2019). Therefore, even when a harsh decision is to be made, the employees might accept it for the sake of the organization and the team. Concerning such cases, Ms. Haifa Alhamazani mentions, ‘I would try and persuade all employees by reminding them of the overall company’s objective’ (Appendix A). Ultimately, Alhamazani always keeps the vision of the organization in mind and adjusts her communication with the team accordingly.
Cooperation and Team Influence
Consequently, another significant characteristic of transformational leadership is teambuilding. As mentioned before, teamwork is an essential factor of transformational leadership, and Ms. Haifa Alhamazani ensures that every staff member feels safe and comfortable in the workspace. In the interview, she makes such remarks as ‘I’m a team player, for me, my team of employees is my top priority’ and ‘Be there as a friend and also as a mentor’ (Appendix A). In the framework of the transformational theory, the organization can only succeed through teamwork, common objectives, and mutual understanding (Diaz-Saenz, 2011). Therefore, the work process of Ms. Haifa Alhamazani aligns flawlessly with the underlying principles of the theory.
The transformational leadership model is one of the most efficient contemporary theories of management, which requires patience, charisma, compassion, and flexibility from the manager. Ms. Haifa Alhamazani possesses all the necessary qualities and always prioritizes the team and their well-being. She ensures that every employee is comfortable in the workspace and can be as productive as possible. As a result, Alhamazani was able to build a caring and determined team that wishes to help women learn how to drive and normalize this behavior. There is a large variety of challenges and obstacles in the conservative society that obstruct this objective; however, Alhamazani and her team do not give up and do their best to make a positive change. From these considerations, Ms. Haifa Alhamazani can be rightfully considered an excellent leader in the framework of transformational leadership.
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Interview with Haifa Muteb Alhamazani
Haifa Muteb Alhamazani
My first job was a director of an English language institution. After that I became a human resource manager in a medical centre here in hail. Then, I also was hired as a director of a language institution. Finally, I was hired by Tatweer driving institute in 23d of December in 2018 as the first female director for the first driving school in Hail city.
First leadership role in a job?
Ever since the beginning of my employment career, I was hired as a leader. I had a lot of mistakes because I had no previous experiences in a leading role. I wish I had a career growth as a regular employee to develop my skills more instead of immediately being hired as a leader, but it taught me a lot.
How many years of experience in leadership role?
from 2016 until 2021.
Do you see yourself as a born leader, or made as a leader?
I’m a made up leader, I wasn’t born with a leader characteristic but I learned a lot by observing & having interactions with other leaders in the business field. I saw how they communicated with their employees and how they built up trust and loyalty. That helped me a lot to become the leader I am today.
In your opinion, what are the most important values any leader should have?
Having patience, mild tempered, being able to handle the pressure & stress of the job and finally having decision-making capacity.
What do you think about criticism? And how do u respond to it?
If it’s constructive criticism, I’ll take it with an open mind. Even if it’s withering criticism I’d look at it from all different perspectives & try to develop myself in any way possible because no one is perfect after all. We might not be able to acknowledge & improve our flaws unless someone speaks up about them.
How have you gained commitment from the team?
I gained the management staff commitment by giving them trust. I gave them the freedom to discuss and solve their problems. Even if they made any mistakes during their job rather than giving them a warning, I was guiding them through those mistakes to help them fix it and learn from it. This method helped greatly in decreasing any errors made & it also made other employees more responsible towards their jobs.
How can a leader fail? Give an example?
If a leader has no authorization or any executive power in their position, they’ll fail because they’ll never have the choice to make any impact. When a leader feels compelled, failure will be their destiny. Also overconfidence can lead to failure because they’ll not be recognising their potentials or any consequences that are beyond their abilities
What is your greatest strength?
Being able to focus & work under pressure to still achieve positive outcomes without being effected by anything.
What would be your greatest weakness?
I’m too kind when it comes with my staff. I know some of the employees have difficult life conditions. They left their families and responsibilities to be present here in this organisation and to do their job & earn their living. That’s why sometimes I lack firmness because I empathise with their situations & I want to create warm & safe environment for them.
How do u get others to accept your ideas?
Whenever I have any new ideas or decisions, I arrange a small meeting that’s suitable for all of the employees, then I explain those ideas to then openly and honestly. Thankfully, we’re all one big family, we understand each other and we’re all eager to accomplish the company’s goals. Any decision making process is easily to be delivered and accepted by them.
What sort of leader would your team say that you are?
I’m a team player, for me my team of employees are my top priority. I communicate clearly & I try to be present & give any necessary guidance or help or praises & complements whenever someone is doing their job sincerely.
How do you get motivation?
Good feedbacks, whether it’s from my staff or from our customers. Any positive reaction changes my whole mood & recharges my energy & motivates me to work harder.
What is the most difficult part about being a leader?
Any problems that’re beyond my abilities as the director of the driving school. For example, a customer has paid for her training course & she didn’t attend any of it & the training period have expired. In the organization terms and conditions if any trainee skips their whole training course for months without any excuses they have to pay if they want another new course. It’s difficult when I deal with the unfixability of any system & when I can’t help because of the conditions and requirements of the training.
Is competition among a team healthy? Why? Or why not?
For me fair competition is very healthy and beneficial for any team, because it motivates them to do their best work and it also helps to break the ice and their routine.
What are the most difficult decisions to make?
When I have to terminate any contract with an employee. I look back at it & review it consistently because I don’t want to be injustice with anyone.
If you were in a team, what role would you be?
I’d be a leader, because I like to communicate with others and help them to collaborate and achieve their goals.
How do you resolve conflict?
If it’s between two people, I look at it from all perspectives. After that I evaluate the whole situation and try to satisfy all parties involved and take an overall beneficial decision.
If you had to make an unpopular decision, how would you handle it?
I’d try & persuade all employees by reminding them of the overall company’s objective. When they acknowledge the situation & understand our goal and how that unpopular opinion leads us to achieve it they’ll accept it because we’re all one team & we aim to accomplish one sole purpose.
What is the most significant change you’ve brought to the organization?
Brining the teamwork soul to the employees. In the first year of my employment as a leader we had many differences between several employees because “women driving” is a new issue in this city and not all of them have faith in what they were doing. I worked hard in 2018 and 2019 to help create this comfortable atmosphere for all of them and by doing so I was able to strength their bonds & make a strong team to help lead this new business to success.
What changes would you seek to make the organisation better?
I would change the system & the terms to be more flexible to adjust with other people conditions and needs. I’d also seek continuous improvement regarding to the society and laws developments.
What advices do you give for us about “Leadership” in general?
First, you have to be patient because leadership is a tough and tiring position. Second, try to separate your personal life from your job, don’t be a full time leader because it’ll consume your energy. When you’re home spend your time with your family, rest and recharge so you’ll be able to return to work with full determination. Finally, be present for your staff. Be there for them, build up a strong bond with them, try to compromise with any difficult situations because you’ll never know what circumstances your staff live in. Build up a safe & comfortable atmosphere for all of them. Be there as a friend and also as a mentor, give them full trust so they’ll do their job confidentially. Show them that you are here to listen and help and you’re also dead serious about work and how it’s done professionally. This way you’ll earn their respect and loyalty.