‘Transformational leadership’ is described as:
- a type of leadership style that can inspire positive changes in those who follow;
- a role model for followers;
- puts passion and energy into everything;
- inspires, sets clear goals, high expectations and "walks the walk";
- does not only challenge the status quo but also encourage creativity among followers;
- offers support, recognition and encouragement to individual followers;
- stirs the emotions of people and gets people to look beyond their self-interest
- those kind of leaders have a clear vision and are able to articulate it to followers;
- always visible and will stand up to be counted rather than hide behind their troops;
- able to prevent employees from being excessively reliant on their bosses;
- take and provide feedback;
- those leaders are good communicators;
- cultivating staff to feel empowered and self-guided.
With regard to the topic one event pops out from my past working experience and environment. At the time I had to introduce a huge project that we were about to begin with to the management team. It was an ICT project, a quite helpful one in pre-accession process to European Union. As my previous working experience was prevalent in entrepreneurial world, I had to significantly adapt my presentation to public administration. Although not easily done, the presentation went smoothly until the moment when the cost structure was represented. Namely, I exposed what was considered “normal data” in projects I've lead so far (technical equipment, computers, servers, switchers, software, maintenance, services, and number of people as well as costs involved). I was abruptly stopped by the Minister saying that we could not afford to set up a project like that – a too costly one. That certainly took me by surprise considering that till that moment all through previous discussions there was no mentioning that it might be too expensive. Strongly convinced that exact and clear communication is crucial in those kinds of situations I asked myself what had gone wrong all of the sudden. Therefore, I cautiously started to ask the management team where the problem lies. It took some time when I finally understood that employees’ salaries had to be excluded from the project costs. If the Minister would have just stopped me at the point where we were apart without giving us an opportunity to discuss the subject, most probably the project would never have been finished, but luckily (or should I say wisely) that positive leadership attitude followed the setting of the whole information system. As well my cooperation with him in coming years.
Back to the ‘transformational leadership’: is the above a story of transformational leading approach or is it just what’s expected in a (normal) leadership?