IntroductionLeaders comes in manyforms, and great leaders span across organizations big and small. Althoughthere are many great leaders, it is my belief that certain leaders are moreeffective than others. This may be due to preferences and the types ofleadership traits that motivates me as an employee, but my belief is leadersthat adopt transformational leadership qualities have a greater impact onorganizations compared to other forms of leadership. Transformational leadership is thatwhich: “…facilitates a redefinition of a people’s mission and vision, a renewal of theircommitment and the restructuring of their systems for goal accomplishment.
Itis a relationship of mutual stimulation and elevation that converts followersinto leaders and may convert leaders into moral agents.” (Leithwood, as citedin Cashin et al., 2000, p.
1) Chen and Kanfer suggestthat transformational leaders motivate their group of followers by transformingthe values and priorities of followers and motivating them to perform beyondtheir expectations (Chen and Kanfer (2006)). Transformational leadersarticulate an attractive future vision, infuse work with meaning, and inspirefollowers (e.g., Bass, 1985). It is believed that a good transformationalleader can move their employees from the need to survive (Maslow’s hierarchy),to elevated levels (Kelly, 2003; Yukl, 1989). While I agree thattransformational leaders have a direct impact on their employees I will befocusing the remainder of my research on how transformational leaders can havea direct impact on the proactivity of their employees. Overall the way a leader actstowards their employees in the workplace can have a direct impact on that employee’sproactive behavior (Belschak and Hartog, 2010).
Readings from House suggestthat companies in the 21st century will need to have team memberswho are proactive. “Formalorganizations of the twenty-first century will need members who exercise independentinitiative, autonomous judgment and decision making, analytical thinking, andinnovative approaches to tasks and problems. Consequently, leaders will need tostimulate followers intellectually and develop their competence and independence.”(House, 1995, p. 425)Beyond House, previous researchershave shown that proactivity can be associated with positive organizationaloutcomes, such as creativity (Chen and Hou,2016), task performance (Weseler andNiessen, 2016), job satisfaction (Anseel etal., 2015), and organizational commitment (Saks et al.,2011).
Effects of proactivity in employees Research has shown thatproactive members of a team can have a positive impact on an organization, sohow does a transformational leader build a team of proactive team members? I believethis is accomplished by the common traits that make up a transformationalleader. According to Bass, there are four elements that make up atransformational leader, known as the 4 I’s. (Bass, 2006) 1.Idealized influence.
Charismatic vision and behaviour that inspires others tofollow. 2.Inspirational motivation. Capacity to motivate others to commit to the vision. 3.Intellectual stimulation. Encouraging innovation and creativity.
4.Individualized consideration. Coaching to the specific needs of followers. Idealizedinfluence encompasses behaviors that instill pride in followers for beingassociated with the leader. It indicates that a leader will go beyond theirindividual self-interest for the greater good of the group and make personalsacrifices for others’ benefit. A transformational leader with idealizedattributes displays a sense of power and confidence and is able to reassureothers that they can overcome obstacles. They emphasize a collective missionand note the importance of having a strong sense of purpose. The members orteam of the organization often emulates leaders who possess idealizedinfluence, viewing the leader as a charismatic personification of the valuesand mission of that organization.
Inspirationalmotivation is the second factor of transformational leadership, whichincorporates those who talk optimistically about the future and articulate acompelling vision for that future. They talk about what needs to beaccomplished, but express confidence that those goals will be achieved. Aperson who uses inspirational motivation also creates an exciting image of whatis essential to consider. This type of motivational behavior encourages a senseof team spirit, creating general enthusiasm—especially towards difficultchallenges. This factor of transformational leadership is especially pertinentto the social sector because of the trying nature of the nonprofit world, whereenthusiasm and motivation are needed in order to maintain optimism throughoutall levels of the organization.
Intellectualstimulation is the third set of behaviors and attributes, which implies that atransformational leader seeks differing perspectives when solving problems, andgets others to look at those problems from a different angle as well. Those whoutilize intellectual stimulation also encourage non-traditional thinking andsuggest new ways of looking at how to complete assignments. They oftenre-examine critical assumptions to question if those assumptions areappropriate and accurate.
This factor of transformational leadership isengrained naturally within the social sector because employees are oftenattracted to certain nonprofits because they are cognizant of the direct impactthey can make. Individualizedconsideration is the fourth and final factor of transformational leadership.Those transformational leaders who display individualized consideration spendtime coaching and teaching their followers, and in doing so, promote self-development.They treat others as individuals, rather than simply group members, andidentify the differing needs, abilities, and aspirations for those individuals.