Building one leader at a time starting with transformational leadership definition

The transformational leadership definition helps characterize an individuals leadership style. This is particularly beneficial when you are trying to differentiate between leaders. Knowing the leadership style of a person can help you replicate influential behaviors and develop your leadership abilities. One of the most important steps to developing your talents and becoming a better leader is by identifying your role models and key leaders in your life. Transformational leaders are individuals likely to assist in your development. To understand why transformational leaders have the inclination to be of assistance, we must examine the definition.


The root form of transformational is transformed. Transform refers to make a change, altering, or modifying. Leaders need to spot change, reflect on possible alterations, and implement modifications. Ultimately, when we are talking about transformational leadership, we mean the identification, tactical development of a plan, and the execution of the plan.

When you break it down to these three elements, it sounds relatively simple. However, when dealing with change it is seldom carefree. The assumption is that the leader identifies the problem correctly. If they misidentify the problem the implementation of any solution could fail from the onset. Furthermore, the leader and their followers can become frustrated if the solution does not resolve the problem. If allowed to fester, this frustration can result in a loss of confidence and trust.

The second concern comes from the strategic development of a plan. A leader who does not solicit participation in the planning phase can experience resistance. Thus, a transformational leader should encourage participation. When a follower has the opportunity to contribute to the development of the plan, they become invested. An invested follower will have more devotion and willingness to exert energy to find success. Leaders need to welcome input from followers whenever possible.

Leaders need to find manners to get their followers to have skin in the game. One of the best ways to achieve this is by asking for input. Moreover, when individuals have the freedom to contribute thoughts, the result will typically be better than if the leader were to arrive at a plan solely on their own.

Third, to execute the plan the leader needs to find methods and manners to inspire and motivate their team to take action. There are numerous techniques that leaders can implement to encourage followers to move in the direction of the set goal. For example, leaders can link rewards with deliverable results. Another approach leaders can pursue is serving as role model and showing their team desirable behaviors.

When working in teams, individuals can become highly competitive and demand challenges. Challenges can occur through empowerment. Empower to followers to take ownership of a situation and act with the support of the leader. This will allow followers the opportunity to highlight their skills by putting their talents on the spot. Another method of challenging followers is to assign them to new tasks that can also benefit the team by developing their skills in other areas.

Four I’s of Transformational Leadership Theory

The definition of transformational leadership requires the leader being competent in the following four areas: influence, inspiration, individualized consideration, and intellect. Influence stems from serving as a leader who others want to follow, ultimately they are a role model. This style of leadership also relies on the capacity to inspire and motivate others to follow the new vision of change. Together influence and inspiration are said to represent the level of the leader’s charisma.

As previously stated, a transformational leader theory has the desire to see others reach their potential. The reason for this is that they have individualized consideration. This type of leader is aware of personal needs in addition to the feelings followers hold in regard to different situations. When individuals are in tune with the needs of their community they lead, they have the capacity to generate great personalized results. Personal results are achieved through intellectual stimulation. Followers become successful when leaders take the time to invite them to be innovative, creative, and take risks all while receiving support.

Application of Transformational Leadership Theory

Executing transformational leadership relies on sociability, awareness, temperament, and emotional health. To apply this style of leadership, one needs to be able to relate to others and socialize with a range of individuals. The transformational leadership definition is all about creating change and therefore, the application is based on recognizing the potential in others and helping them visualize the results so that they are more achievable.

Recognition and visualization are all about awareness. Transformational leaders see opportunities where others may not. They can lead others around roadblocks, so they can come out on the other side better off.

Although there are potential limiting barriers, the leader can maintain an upbeat positive attitude. This temperament reassures others and is infectious. Naturally, people want to surround themselves with positive people. This temperament allows leaders to form a closer relationship with their followers. The leader’s emotional health provides them with strength as they encounter naysayers. This leadership style is one that certainly motivates and encourages others with a high degree of success.


Now that you know the transformational leadership definition, create a list of individuals who you believe are effective at employing this leadership style. From that list of individuals, identify one unique trait or characteristic that you can learn from them. After identifying these important traits or characteristics of individuals you idolize, pick an individual that interests you. Next, take the initiative and have a conversation with the individual who possesses the skill and try to learn about their approach to transformational leadership theory.