Transformational Leadership – Theory, Importance, Limitaions & Applications

Leadership is the role that all managers must play in the workplace. Managers are often misunderstood as they often commit mistakes in operating the employees properly within the workplace environment.

According to the leaders of the business industry, the particular theory addresses leadership as the process by which one person influences the whole group of people to achieve the goals of both long and short-term projects simultaneously. To become an effective leader, managers must actively influence the employees to achieve the organization’s goals.

A transformative approach to leadership helps managers become outstanding leaders. This article describes the transformational leadership approach, its strengths, weaknesses, and procedures for applying it.

Transformational Leadership – Definition

transformational leadership definition

In the opinion of Asbariet al. (2020), the theory is mainly defined as the process through which the changes can be made to achieve success in the business industry. In other words, transformational leadership theory acquaints with the pathways to get modifications, improvements, and changes through which the leaders can fruitfully lead the employees.

Based on this, by following the particular theory, the leaders in association with their fellow employees achieve success in no time.

Transformational Leadership – Key Determinants

Key determinants of transformational leadership theory

The particular leadership theory mainly consists of four key determinants, known as the four Is,” and they are “idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individual consideration.” These four determinants are the pillars of success for the managers of the companies in the business industry.

Each of the four determinants provides the main characteristics necessary for the modification process. In this regard, most leading companies mainly integrate this leadership theory and stress following the rules and regulations on the part of the leaders of the company or organization (Edis, 2022).

The managers are considered the role model in the organization who are responsible for enlightening the path by encouraging innovating and motivating the employees by following the four Is, the managers or leaders of the companies or organizations to be more productive and manage the skills of the employees appropriately.

In the opinion of Turnnidge and Côté (2018), following this particular theory and applying the four determinants, both the high and low levels of leaders or managers can achieve success in the business industry, whether in private or public sector companies or organizations.

Transformational Leadership – Advantages

● Transformational leaders seek to meet the organization’s needs, which means that every employee feels to have a particular role within the team. This keeps employees involved and reduces staff turnover costs.

● Transformational leaders are good at recognizing people’s needs. It will help you reflect on the fruitful ways to encourage and motivate people to be the best.

● For businesses to improve, they are focussing on the changes to get the success. Transforming managers involve employees and are enthusiastic about new things. They can better sell ideas for change when they believe in the process, helping everyone reach their goals and their potential (Bonsu and Twum-Danso, 2018).

● One of the maximum crucial elements of the blessings and drawbacks of transformational management is the cap potential to identify gaps and issues in an imaginative and prescient and provide you with adjustments to clear them up quickly. Leaders can also “sell” the brand new technique to their followers, which means that it receives followed proper away.

● Getting encouragement is beneficial, and while human beings see others satisfied and having a perfect time, they need to share the experience. Suppose employees see their chief enthusiastic about a new imaginative and prescient aim. In that case, they get involved as well, which results in higher crew spirit, a better stage of productivity, and much less turnover of each workforce and clients.

● An achievement of using the transformational management fashion is that the leaders or the managers need to offer typical remarks to their fans to maintain them headed withinside the proper direction. This forces higher communication, which provides higher results.

● Companies suffering from low morale and employee indifference in the short or long term can boost ethics and transform their work environment by interrupting their day-to-day operations with transformative leaders (Lai et al. 2020). This particular theory highlights the importance of maintaining a healthy work environment within the workplace. It will improve the performance level of the employees at the same time.

Transformational Leadership – Limitations

● Research has shown that employers sometimes think they are offering transformative leadership, even though they aren’t. From the worker’s point of view, the way they are managed is the focus of the transaction, which is the opposite. Without treating the employees as genuine members of the decision-making process, managers treated employees as subordinates and sought to trade compensation for performance.

● Transformational management is a complicated concept bobbing up from numerous one-of-a-kind management theories. Most strategies make it hard to study or teach, and proper transformational management is greater of a character trait.

It also includes a hazard of abuse because the leader’s function in this version is unchallenged (Yamin, 2020). On this occasion, the leaders can be capable of abusing their power, for instance, withinside the manner Adolf Hitler showed through his deeds.

Transformational Leadership – Application

If we closely look at the world’s top and most successful leaders, many of them have engraved their names by reflecting their successful personalities by achieving great things. In this regard, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, and others were among the leaders who gained notable success by following the transformational leadership theory (Yourbusiness, 2020).

Moreover, in the contemporary world, leading companies like Apple, IBM, Microsoft, and Google are also following this leadership theory.


Transformative leadership plays a vital role for effective managers, as leaders’ effectiveness determines an organization’s ultimate success. By adopting the theory along with the four determinants, the leaders can effectively improve the whole workforce’s performance.


Asbari, M., Santoso, P.B. and Prasetya, A.B., 2020. Elitical And Antidemocratic Transformational Leadership Critics: Is It Still Relevant?(A Literature Study). INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SOCIAL, POLICY AND LAW, 1(1), pp.12-16.

Bonsu, S. and Twum-Danso, E., 2018. Leadership style in the global economy: A focus on cross-cultural and transformational leadership. Journal of Marketing and Management, 9(2), pp.37-52.

Edis, 2022, Concept of transformational theory, Available at: [Accessed on: 8th June 2022]

Lai, F.Y., Tang, H.C., Lu, S.C., Lee, Y.C. and Lin, C.C., 2020. Transformational leadership and job performance: The mediating role of work engagement. Sage Open, 10(1), p.2158244019899085.

Marketing91, 2022, Four Is of transformational theory, Available at: [Accessed on: 8th June 2022]

Myamericannurse, 2022, Transformational leadership theory, Available at: [Accessed on: 8th June 2022]

Turnnidge, J. and Côté, J., 2018. Applying transformational leadership theory to coaching research in youth sport: A systematic literature review. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 16(3), pp.327-342.

Yamin, M., 2020. Examining the role of transformational leadership and entrepreneurial orientation on employee retention with moderating role of competitive advantage. Management Science Letters, 10(2), pp.313-326.

Yourbusiness, 2020, Contemporary business industry to follow transformational theory, Available at: [Accessed on: 8th June 2022]

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