Transformational leadership as a necessitating tool for effective
talent development


Dr (Mrs) Vijit Chaturvedi
Associate Professor
Business Administration Department
Lingaya's University
Faridabad, Haryana


Today when workforce diversity and leadership have gained so much of momentum the only competitive advantage that organization can create is developing strong talent pools and ensuring its long term survival. It is not merely a lot of investment only done in building good workplaces or training and skill development solely but understanding how employees are utilizing the same by relating it to their career development, learning and its execution at workplace thus relating their individual objectives with organization objectives.

Talent management is thus the only option available and appropriate for every organization which wants to create a difference in effective workforce utilization, multiplying the rate of talent retention, expecting right return form talent and thus building a culture of collaboration , strategic linkage of functions with goals and thus talent retention.

Need of such concepts

It is imperative from above discussion that today when we analyze critically the best players in industry it is the unique, focused an employee driven approach and resulting  developmental techniques and approaches that help in building of strong talent pools.

It is a defined and unique approach that should be understood and implemented on the part of employer/leaders in form of managers, functional heads or in-charges that right from planning what is to be developed to how, thinking on how much and how to invest and how the take offs form investment and learning will be related to expected outcome or performance. Today managers cannot alone drive the excellence without quantifiable contribution of its employees thus concepts like transformation leadership has gained attention. Transformational leadership is a process that changes and transforms individuals.

Burns (1978) defined Transformational leadership as a process where leaders and followers engage in mutual process of raising one another to higher level of morality and motivation

There is one thing that distinguishes high growing company with the rest, its leadership. A leadership that is committed to work its way up, inspires confidence in its people, empowers individuals, and believes in including others in decision making, makes transformational changes and thus, is called transformational leadership. A transformation leadership doesn't believe in the concept of top down leadership, but make changes to the pattern and listen to the every segment of its workforce. It understands the biggest asset of a company is its people and it pays more attention in retaining & developing its people.

It ensures that it creates a transparent & healthy environment where everyone's opinion isn't judged by the position they hold, but by the content and depth of the resolution and analysis. It brings in the sense of accountability & dedication towards work in every employee. It motivates, encourages, empowers, train & equip its workforce to achieve far higher results.

It ensures its people are rewarded for the results and not for the efforts. It incentivizes achievers innovatively to make them feel valued. Numerous perks are linked for achieving set goals and targets. It believes in two way communication to ensure there is greater trust in all teams and individuals.

Transformation leadership doesn't think short term. It has a vision and all energy is put into making that vision successful. A vision is broken down into a set of smaller short terms goals and a proper road map to ensure each activity is completed within a specified time limit. Each of these activities are assigned to owners of different units/heads with a clear plan of action.

Transformation leadership ensures it invests enough time in planning and a proper course of action is prepared. Nothing is left to chances except the environmental changes that may occur in business to business, region to region etc. A contingency or Plan B is also kept handy to ensure things go as plan.

Transformation leadership doesn't work from a room where all decisions are made. It keeps itself involved in the business and knows its business in and out. It spends enough time meeting staff on the operation floors. It invokes people to drop suggestion on how to bring changes to improve quality and efficiency. As it knows, solution provided by its people would go a long way than forcing a management solution onto them. It keeps its workforce energetic, enthusiastic & passionate by organizing fun events.

Dimensions of Transformational Leadership:-

Idealized influence
: - The leaders are charismatic role models who lead by examples. They align followers by providing a common purpose.

Inspirational Motivation: - describes managers who motivate associates to commit to vision of an organization.

Intellectual Simulation:-describes managers who encourage innovation and creativity through challenging the normal beliefs or views of a group.

Individual Consideration:-describes managers who act as coaches and advisor to the associates.

Few known transformation leaders:

Abraham Lincoln: -
Abraham Lincoln firmly believed that you "catch more flies with honey" and he used his vast powers of persuasion to share his vision with others. Recall that one of his core values were his empathy for people. He paid particular attention to honing his speeches so they were clear, concise, and directed toward the common people

President Lincoln's transformational leadership ability is very impressive. Evaluating Lincoln's transformational skills, first he was able to acquire the trust, loyalty, and respect of followers. Second, he had the ability to inspire people to keep making sacrifices in spite of hardships. Lastly, the effectiveness of his appeal to followers' ethical values in order to inspire them to "higher morality" (Leidner, 2012).

Steve Jobs : - He focused on transforming others to help each others, to look out for each other, to be encouraging and harmonious and to look out for the organization as a whole. At Apple he was seen as a leader whose brilliance and idealistic vision of "providing computers as a tool to change the world" drew other talented people to him. His leadership created valuable and positive changes in followers. He enhanced the motivation, morale and performance of his follower group. He is categorized as a charismatic leader.

Bill Gates: - The exemplary skills and mindset that Bill Gates has become places him with to be one of the most influential transformational leaders who inspire the masses of whom he shares his vision. Not all charismatic leaders can be transformational but he Possesses both; being transformational and charismatic. Success has already been established with more to follow in Philanthropy. Bill Gates is not the first to discover the future and present benefits helping others but he certainly has a large following from the emerging economy of Brazil, developing nations in Africa, and organizations in Asia.

Walt Disney: - Walt Disney was a leader who exemplified many leadership capacities throughout his 43-year Hollywood career. He demonstrated a strong moral purpose and worked hard to make a difference in the lives of everyone who had interactions with Walt Disney Productions. His moral convictions were instilled in him by his parents at a young age. Walt was always striving to make people happy. His first priority was always to his family. Although he struggled to balance work and family at times, he was always there for his wife and daughters. Walt also had a strong commitment to his employees. He knew each person by name and insisted that everyone call him Walt. Throughout his life, and since his death, Walt Disney did more to touch the hearts and minds of millions of Americans than any other person in the past century.

Martin Luther King, Jr.- Martin Luther King, Jr., was a man of influence because he was aware of existing conditions and worked to change customs, culture, thinking, and relationships. He worked against angry and resistant people who hated him because he was an agent for change. Similar to Martin Luther, he stepped up when it was important and stayed focused on the essential change he knew could not be ignored.

Different organization leadership practice that reflect transformational leadership (E.g. from industry

Transformational business leadership can result in extraordinary changes in direction.  According to City University of New York professors Hershey H. Friedman and Mitchell Langbert, characteristics of transformational leaders include vision, confidence, courage and a willingness to make sacrifices. Transformational leadership can also come from organizations.

Jack Welch joined General Electric as its chief executive officer in the early 1980s. He set about transforming a bureaucratic organization into a lean and agile powerhouse. He motivated his business managers to strive to be among the best and they responded.

Warren Buffett transformed a clothing manufacturer, Berkshire Hathaway, into a giant holding company that consistently outperforms its stock market peers.

By purchasing the best equipment available at the time and hiring talented writers, publishing icons Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst represent transformational leaders of their industry. These transformational leaders provided an inexpensive communication mechanism to the average citizen and published information on volatile topics including politics, religion and worldwide event.

Conclusion- Thus, in today's competitive environment leadership cannot be thought of in isolation and cannot be sole responsibility of few leaders/ managers. When we have concepts like seeking improvement from the bottom level in form of bottom of pyramid approach organization cannot ignore any level in the hierarchy thus bringing holistic development in the employees skills and behavior  and developing a organization citizenship behavior is important.
It creates healthy and transparent environment, promotes the best talent, thinks long term, rewards & appraise best people & work as a team and not as managers. This is what is required from transformational leaders which can bring such visible changes in organization and help employees to become leaders largely. It is that keen vision, inspiration, enthusiasm, energy and clarity in goals and vision that make them different from others. Even when we see the generation Y as the trend setters and so much about talent management and retention it is actually clear that employees and workforce should be utilized not only for achieving immediate goals but should focus on long term perspective of the organization. It helps an organization to develop an equity based, merit promoting and unique collaborative and participative work culture that helps organization to grow.

2 Tichy, N., Devanna, M., A., The Transformational Leader, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., USA, 1986.

3. Stoner, J., A., F., Freeman, R., E., Management , Prentice Hall, Inc., New Jersey,1992.

4. Kochan, T., A., Useem, M., (ed.), Transforming Organizations , Oxford University Press, Inc., New York, 1992.

5. The Influence of the Transformational Leader Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies January 1, 2004 10: 103-111

Dr (Mrs) Vijit Chaturvedi
Associate Professor
Business Administration Department
Lingaya's University
Faridabad, Haryana

Source: E-mail May 10, 2014


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