The paper "Personal Leadership Style" is an outstanding example of management coursework. According to Pinar (1981, cited by Johns 2009 p. 49), “ reflective writing brings events into focus, enabling the journal to act as a midwife, giving birth to new understanding” . Notably, reflection is supposed to make us cognizant of the meaning in lessons and experiences encountered in life. As Johns (2009) notes, however, reflection calls upon one to pause, stop or pay attention to lessons and experiences. In this journal, I will reflect on my leadership style, which has been identified in the learning style matrix as transactional.
To start with, however, I must underscore my belief (which is informed by theories regarding leadership) that in addition to leadership being one’ s ability to influence others by controlling their behaviour, it also includes one’ s ability to motivate and enable others to achieve identified organisational goals. Analysing learning Being identified as a transactional leader has in a way made me realise that I need to develop more leadership competencies (and perhaps adopt a transformational style of leadership) especially if the association between effective leadership and transformational leadership approaches as established in the literature (Avolio & Bass 2004; Rosette & Tost 2010) is anything to go by.
Increasingly, organisational hierarchies are flattening, and globalisation is forcing leadership to transform, specifically for purposes of adopting an individualised and inspirational approach of handling employees (Eagly 2005; Rosette & Tost 2010). The aforementioned approach of handling employees appears to work best under transformational leadership, hence underscoring the need for me to gain more competencies in that area. Before writing any further, it is important for me to first answer the question, ‘ can one learn how to be a transformational leader? ’ Well, according to Bass (1990, cited by Atkinson & Pilgreen 2011, p.
2), transformational leadership can be “ taught, learned, and practised” . This answer, therefore, indicates that apart from being taught and learning (which I have in this course) about leadership, I can also practice the same despite being identified as a transactional leader. A more theoretical indication that one can indeed succeed in moving away from transactional and into the transformational form of leadership has been offered by Bass and Avolio (1990 cited by Atkinson & Pilgreen 2011), who indicates that such a shift is possible if one practice: Idealised influence (making one’ s subordinates feel good, proud and earning their faith); Inspirational motivation (communicating one’ s goals, manipulating images, and helping subordinates find their work meaningful); Intellectual stimulation (helping subordinates find new ways of perceiving and accomplishing work-related tasks); and individual consideration (helping subordinates develop individually or in groups or teams). Learning about transactional leadership, it emerged to me that such leaders practice contingent reward and management-by-exception.
Through contingent reward, leaders recognise and compensate effort and good performance, while management-by-exception ensures that the status quo remains, set performance targets are met and that corrective action is taken whenever desired results are not attained (Hackman & Craig 2009 cited by Atkinson & Pilgreen 2011).
While it was evident through the course that transactional leadership has its place in any organisation (e. g. in crisis and emergency management or in projects that require adherence to strict standards), I got the impression that such type of leadership needs to be the exception rather than the norm.
From the leadership lessons, I also got the impression that transactional leaders are more likely to adopt approaches that maintain the status quo, and by so doing, they may jeopardise chances of an organisation progressing in future.
Atkinson, T, & Pilgreen, T 2011, ‘Adopting the transformational leadership perspective in a complex research environment’, Research Management Review, Vol. 18, No. 1, pp. 1-23.
Avolio, B & Bass, B 2004, Multifactor leadership questionnaire, Mind Garden, CA.
Eagly, A H 2005, ‘Achieving relational authenticity in leadership: Does gender matter?’ The Leadership Quarterly, vol. 16, pp. 459-475.
Hackman, J & Craig, M 2009, Leadership: communication perspective, Waveland Press, Long Grove, IL.
Johns, C 2009, Becoming a reflective practitioner, John Wiley & Sons, London.
Jones, M 2011, ‘Transforming leadership through the power of imagination’, In Barbour, J & Hickman, R (Eds.), Leadership for transformation, Jossey-Bass, CA.
Kohn, A 1999, Punished by rewards- the trouble with gold stars, incentive plans, A’s, praise, and other bribes, Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
Podsakoff, N P, Podsakoff, P M, & Kuskova, V V 2010, ‘Dispelling misconceptions and providing guidelines for leader reward and punishment behaviour’, Business Horizons, Vol. 53, pp. 291-303.
Riaz, A, & Haider, M 2010, ‘Role of transformational and transactional leadership on job satisfaction and career satisfaction’, BEH-Business and Economic Horizons, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 29-38.
Rosette, A. & Tost, L 2010, ‘Agentic women and communal leadership: how role prescriptions confer advantage to top women leaders’, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 95, pp. 221-235.
Sabir, M S, Sohail, A & Khan, M A 2011, ‘Impact of leadership style on organisation commitment: In a mediating role of employee values’, Journal of Economics and Behavioural Studies, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 145-152.
Weiner, B 2010, ‘The development of an attribution-based theory of motivation: A history of ideas’, Educational Psychologist, Vol. 45, No. 1, pp. 28-36.