Transformational leadership - style of influence



This piece of work will critically evaluate the approaches of transformational leadership, which enhance employee well being. It will delve into the meaning of transformational leadership and the necessary leadership approach or style that can influence employee well- being positively at work, and areas of employee well- being the leadership approach will improve. Also the overall implication that employee well-being has on performance and why it should be a core value in any organisation will be analyzed.


One of the current approaches to leadership that has been the focus of much research is the transformational approach. Transformational leadership is part of the new leadership paradigm, which gives more attention to the charismatic and effective elements of leadership. The transformational leadership involves an exceptional style of influence that makes employees to perform beyond expectation. And its' approach usually incorporates the charismatic and visionary leadership.(Mullins 2007).

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The leadership approach is the best suitable for campaigning a strategic vision of change or a new work routines. It facilitates feedbacks learning because the leadership is an effective communicator, who can inspire commitment in the employees towards realisation of the firm's vision. The employees under this leadership feels secured, a sense of trust is established and feels valued, respected and important hence they are ready to be committed to the organisations' goal.

The leadership motivates employees to overcome resistance to change since they trust the leadership; all fears of uncertainty are easily eroded.

It is obvious that the leadership of where an employee served will go along a way to give value, emotionally to the employee or the reverse maybe the case. The leadership on focus here is one which will affect employee emotions positively and build trust within the relationship because, It is a leadership that value the employee and is mostly concerned in ensuring that the employee succeed in the task or organisation goal set.

All businesses seek to be in a good state of well-being, since employee in a perfect emotional, psychological, intellectual and mental state of well-being will successfully perform at a high level and the company will remain efficient and profitable.

We will consider some factors or approaches of the transformational leadership that gave it achievement in improving employee well-being.


In recent years increasing business competitiveness and the need for the most effective use of human resources has resulted in writers on management focusing attention on how leaders revitalise or transform organisations (Laurie Mullins 2007).

The transformational leadership uses strategic influences and techniques that empower employees and enhance their self-efficacy and change their values, norms and attitudes, consistent with the vision developed by the leadership which will positively enhance psychological well-being. On the other hand transactional leadership influences employees with the use of power, sanctions, rewards and formal authority to induce follower's compliance behaviour (Bass 1985; Conger&Kanungo 1998)

According to (Burns 1978) transformational leadership was defined as a process where leadership (employers) and followers (employees)engage in a mutual process of raising one another to higher levels of morality and motivation. Burns M. J was the first to bring about the concept of transformational leadership to prominence in his extensive research into leadership theories.

Effective transformational leaders are those who inspires and According to Whitehead (Mullins,L. 2007) “the big word now associated with leadership is vision. The ability to see the bigger picture, to take the long-term view. What the ultimate objectives of the organisation are and how people can work together to achieve them..perhaps the most important attribute is that a good leadership inspires people by creating a climate where it is OK for people to make mistakes and learn from them, rather than what happened in the past which was to blame and punish them. Leading from this position, they gain higher level of commitment from their people than mere compliance”.

As its name implies transformational leadership is a process that changes and transforms individuals. It is concerned with trust, emotions, values, standards and long term goals and includes assessing follower's motives, satisfying their needs and treating them as full human beings.


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There has been many definitions of employee well-being by scholars and related professional bodies. The Chartered Institute of personnel development has defined well-being at work to be “creating an environment to promote a state of contentment which allows an employee to flourish and achieve at their full potential for the benefit of themselves and their organisation”. (CIPD 2006).

The well-being in focus is more than that of physical health of avoiding falling ill or sick. This is as to do with achievement of personal well being that revolves round a number of positive decisions regarding life style, which is different from stress avoidance and not being able to cope. It represents a wider bio-pyscho-social spectrum that includes physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being. It is an initiative to help employee be more proactive at work in order to attain their full potentials-intellectually, mentally and psychologically.

Well-being requires the organisation to actively enhance employees to maximise their psychological , intellectual and emotional state of health. The necessary leadership approaches are also of advantage to people at all level both inside and outside the working environment. It modifies the working environment to be highly productive, attractive and corporately responsible place to work. One being an employee will enthusiastically long to always be at work since its an environment that improves one state of mind for productivity, instead of the strictly transactional approach. Every employee prefers that leadership that cares and is ready to help develop you than the type that publicly criticise your flaws.

According to Felce and Perry (1995), well-being;“...comprises objective descriptors and subjective evaluations of physical, material, social and emotional well-being together with the extent of personal development and purposeful activity, all weighted by a personal set of values.” This is important because the definition extends the meaning of well-being to a range of different dimensions beyond the conventional health issues which can be stretched further to workplace.

Employee wellbeing is an important factor in determining an organisation's long term profitability. Many studies show a direct relation between productivity levels and the employee well-being. A happy and healthy employee will be of benefits to the employer since performance will be good, reduction in absenteeism and organisation can achieve the set goals or target. However employer does not necessarily have to focus only on the physical health conditions but more on the mental, psychological and emotional health conditions of employees.(CIPD 2006).

To be organisationally effective, employee well-being needs to be part of a regular business dialogue and to be deeply embedded into an organisational leadership culture. And the leadership that has embedded employee well-being in its culture, style and approach is the transformational leadership. Organisational wellbeing involves many things but the most important of it is employees having meaningful and challenging work and having the opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge in effective working relationships (CIPD 2006).


Researchers have critically measured the approaches of transformational leadership through different ways, by interviews, questionnaires with employees in various organisations and it has been observed from the findings that the leadership has employ the following instruments in enhancing employee well-being at work. According to (Bass1998),the transformational leadership motivates employees/followers to do more than is originally expected and the extent of this transformation is measured by the effectiveness on employees performance.


The ability to perceive, observe, and manage employee emotions will enhance a foundation for social, emotional, and intellectual competencies of well-being, which is necessary for high performance on the job. It is ability that transformational leadership can use to improve productivity and psychological well-being in employees.

This could be described as a type of social intelligence that involves a sensitive approach of monitoring and observing employee's feelings and emotions, in order to use the observation to assist the employees' thinking (mental) and action; that is working pattern for good job performance (Salovey & Meyer 1990).

According to (Fleishman Harris 1962) leadership with the ability to establish mutual trust, respect and good relationship among employees will achieve great productivity.


Every relationship requires trust to survive, if the employees can trust the leadership under which they work, employees will turn out to be proactive on the job and winning the hearts of employees to any new change, lies in the ability of the leadership to influence which will be easier when there exist trust between the two parties. This is an approach a transformational leadership possessed that allays all fears and any form of suspicion from the employees towards their leadership. Building a good relationship like that of a transformational leadership is what makes it easy for trust to and loyalty to grow and employees embrace any new policy set by management and work without any form of threats or unknown anticipated fear. This invariably gives an employee a stable emotional state of mind to perform better.


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Transformational leadership behave in ways that allowed them to serve as role models for employees. (Bass,1985) . The leadership is admired, respected, and trusted. Employees are proud to identify with the leadership and desire to imitate them. The leadership is viewed to be possessing extraordinary abilities, persistence and determination. This style is often a natural behaviour of transformational leadership, whose idealised influence emphasizes on having a collective vision by reassuring employees of the fact that , obstacles can be overcame. This leadership can be trusted to do the right thing and to demonstrate high standards of ethical and moral conduct. Invariably employees have confidence in their leadership.


Transformational leadership behaves in a manner that motivate, inspire and encourage the people working with them by providing meaning and challenge to the employees' work. This leadership gets work going by being enthusiastic and optimistic and get employees involved in envisioning attractive future states, by creating clearly communicated expectations that employee needs to meet and also show commitment to goals and shared visions.(Bass. B and Riggio E. 2006).

According to (Mullins 2007) its been observed by researchers that, for the past30 years there has been increasing amounts of data to suggest that leadership has a lot more to do with inspiration and visions than with straight forward technical competence.


This is a leadership approach that listens, and value an employee, in order to give them a sense of belonging in that the employee feels like an integral part of the organisation (Boorstin 2004) from Bernard Bass .

Transformational leadership is leadership felt throughout the organisation. It is obvious that employees perform better when they are respected and valued by the leadership. Obviously this leadership style or approach goes a long way to enhance the psychological well being of employees positively and result to greater excellent performance. Every individual loves to be given consideration, which gives them sense of value, and when given a fair hearing puts the employee in a good shape of mind psychologically and emotionally to obtain an excellent performance on the job. A two- way communication is encouraged where management is near to the employee, (the leadership remembers previous discussions, is aware of individual concerns and sees the individual as a whole person rather than just an employee), Bass & Riggio. This type of leadership listens effectively and gives special concern to the emotional developmental needs of their employees.


Transformational leadership work on the intellectual strength of the employees by encouraging them to be creative and innovative. Soliciting new approaches for the performance of work and attending to task creatively are encouraged by the leadership. The leadership stimulate employees to view problems as challenge and not as obstacle. This leadership does not openly criticise or embarrass individual employees' errors or shortfalls. Employees are encouraged to proactively come up with new ideas to solving problems and are not castigated in anyway, simply because their own ideas may differ from the management ideas.

Undoubtedly speaking this approach goes along a way in positively stimulating, energising and productively improving the intellectual wellbeing of any employee. When the mind is at its peak or highest level of productivity, the performance will be unspeakably incredibly excellent and organisation's image and reputation is improved, services also will be good and more patronage from customers, leading to more profit. However for the employee an environment where one can be productive enhances intellectual growth and a stable and balance mental well being is achieved. This approach mentally empowers an employee to be self dependent, self reliable, accountable and general self development to becoming an expertise is obtained.


This is an essential style of transformational leadership, one leadership beyond the traditional supervisor or manager that tells someone what to do instead showing them how to do it. Coaching by extension is mentoring someone, influencing people by providing new knowledge and skills required for the task. Work activities don't put smile on people's face, what brings the smile is leadership that mentored, taught and coached employees to be better persons. Transformational leadership pays special attention to each individual employees' needs for achievement and self development by acting as a coach or mentor. Employee individual differences in terms of needs and desires are recognised and are therefore developed to successively higher levels of potential. This approach is more realisable in a supportive environment with new learning opportunities. Bass describes this approach further as a type where the leadership behaviour demonstrates good understanding of individual differences for instance in a situation where the leadership give some employees more encouragement, some are more empowered, some more firm standards, and others possible more task structure. The leadership coach by task delegation and proper monitoring of it to develop the employee and give direction and assistance where necessary and assess the progress without employee feeling being overly controlled rather appreciate the leadership style of taking time to coach and mentor.


Transformational leadership in its leadership style has effectively built trust between employees and management and this usually lead to a smooth and pleasant working relationship that does not give room to suspicion in case of any change in policy or organisational change. Employees trust the leadership and they in turn are committed and loyal to the organisation. The employee is in a perfect emotional state of mind, since there is no fear of unknown or any need to panic. However, the trust sometimes could lead to exploitation since leadership knows that employees so rely on every of their judgement this but its been argued that the integrity of the transformational is to ensure the individual development of the employees. This leadership cares and is concerned about the employees and also inputs the company's value in the mind's of employee and constantly reminds them of the vision and goal to the realisation of a high performance.

The leadership that gives attention to individual consideration is able to identify each individual strength and weakness and of course will be able to train and develop them without compares' but handle them based on each person's capacity (the leadership give some employees more encouragement, some are more empowered, some more firm standards, and others possible more task structure according to their capability and needs). This leadership style improves the employee well-being psychologically since the employee is treated uniquely and not measured by the others standard or ability, it gives an employee sense of acceptance and is uniquely assessed and assisted where necessary. Employee is psychologically, emotionally and intellectually motivated to perform without fear of others is better, here employees are treated as ends and not just means.(Bass and Steidlmeier 1999). The more capable that leadership is able to recognise the personal interests and concerns of individual employee, the very likely leadership will be able to create a team where employee well-being is an integral part of getting the job done.(CIPD 2006 Journal).

In a scenario where an employee under performs an emotional intelligent leadership like the transformational leadership is quick to observe that something could be wrong instead of criticising ,that leadership initiate a good relationship by communicating with the employee to know what the problem is. By so doing the employee is mentally, socially and psychologically restored, and of course performance will improve, resulting to organisational profitability. Thus, it is of necessity to reiterate that the well-being of employee goes a great way in affecting performance and in turn the organisation's as a whole.

The effect of intellectual stimulation on employee well-being cannot be overly emphasized. Employee is allowed to think independently, given room to be creative and allowed to do things in their own unique way which improves employee mental state of well-being. Generally speaking when there are strong relationships like that of a transformational leadership, between employees and line managers to the top managers and management as a whole, levels of well-being are enhanced. The level of performance will also be immeasurably excellent and the organisational goal is realised.

One major effect of transformational leadership style is that it perfectly erodes power distance via the leadership style of delegation which gives employee a measure of autonomy to take decisions on the task delegated to be implemented. The leadership style encourages low power distance and create room for accountability and in over all gives opportunity for employees to be self efficient and of course an avenue to learn. Employees are to an extent empowered under this leadership and of course will feel valued and important, this feeling improve employees' intellectual and psychological state, a feeling of empowerment and importance is essential for a positive psychological well-being. The leadership foster team work allowing every employee to participate and enhancing good relationship to the realisation of self efficacy and high performance.


The leadership approach has a great effect on employee well-being, because how one is been treated goes a long way in affecting the individual thinking and hence the behaviour. In order words, it is argued that transformational leadership should be a core value for organisations that will embed employee well-being in its culture and style of leadership.(Bass 1998).


I strongly recommend the transformational leadership style to be a core value to organisations in the embedding of employee well-being, based on my findings that it is the type of leadership that motivate, inspire, stimulate, and mentor employee to a mental, emotional balance and good psychological state of well-being, which will ultimately lead to a high excellent performance of employee productivity and to the organisation's profitability advantage. I perfectly support the transformational leadership style in the embedding of employee well-being and recommend it to the Nigerian banking industry as particularly.

However, my judgement is also based on my personal experience with my manager who has no single traits of transformational leadership in her approach, my manager was the type that does not have any relationship with the team, i was in the marketing team in the bank at that time, she does not listen to individual needs or concern, she announces and criticise the team errors, even individual weak point and it was always a sad moment at work because of her attitude, she was seen has a bully. When I changed job and joined stanbic bank, it was a different ball game altogether because the stanbic leadership style was very different, since the transformational leadership approach was a core value being an international bank. The transformational leadership style positively affected my intellectual, psychological, and emotional well-being, to the fact that i performed better and even got promoted. I will at anytime vote and argue in support of this leadership style because have been through it has an employee and i know how a good leadership can enhance employee well-being.