The Making of the Transformational Leader

Transformational leadership is about character, not marketing; and the measure of character is to be found not merely in who one claims to be but in the consistency and authenticity of asserted core values and the commitment that one has towards the ideals and values that he / she espouses.

´╗┐There has been sustained discussion on the issue of transformational leadership for the past decade or thereabouts. The discussion took on heightened fervour in 2008 Presidential Campaign in the United States and seems to be gaining traction in Jamaica in recent months. While the field is at best evolving, there are some early signs of potentially debilitating misunderstanding and misrepresentation. This article seeks to provide some insight on the issue and is being presented in an attempt to inform the discussion.


Origin of The concept

The Concept transformational leadership is believed to have originated with J.M. Burns who, in his 1978 book, Leadership, defined transformational leadership as a process where leaders and followers engage in a mutual process of ‘raising one another to higher levels of morality and motivation.’ He argued that transformational leaders raise the bar by motivating followers to aspire to higher ideals and also value followers. Burns suggested that transformational leaders may use different approaches to achieve these ends and proffered four classifications of transformational leadership. These are:

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