Transformational Leadership Styles: Which One Are You?

As a leader or entrepreneur, you want to ensure that your team and business are thriving.

You want to be the kind of leader that inspires your team to innovate and achieve success.

But how do you achieve this?

One approach you can take is adopting a transformational leadership style.

In this blog post, we are going to explore what transformational leadership is, the four different styles of transformational leadership, and how these styles can benefit your business.

By the end of this post, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and tools needed to identify your own leadership style and apply it to foster growth, innovation, and drive success.

Let’s dive right in.

Characteristics of Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is a way of leading where the leader inspires their team to be their best selves. It is based on the belief that people will follow a leader who inspires them. Leaders who are transformational exhibit certain characteristics that are unique to their style. Here are a few:

Inspiring a Shared Vision

Transformational leaders help their team to have a vision that everyone is excited about. They use this vision to inspire their team to work towards a common goal. When everyone shares the same vision, it makes it easier for them to collaborate and work towards the same end goal.

Intellectual Stimulation

Transformational leaders encourage creativity and innovation among their team. They challenge their team to think outside the box. By doing so, they help them to come up with new ideas and inspire them to be more creative.

Individual Consideration

Transformational leaders care about their team members. They take time to get to know each team member, understand their unique skills and talents, and empower them to use them to contribute effectively to the team. They also help team members achieve their own personal goals, and take the time to mentor and coach those who require it.


Transformational leaders are natural leaders who inspire others to follow them. They possess a charisma that makes people want to listen to them and follow their lead. The leader’s ability to connect emotionally with team members is a key trait of transformational leadership.

As you can see, transformational leadership requires a specific set of skills that goes beyond merely delegating tasks. A transformational leader takes a hands-on approach, empowering and inspiring their team to do their best work. And by doing so, they foster a culture of growth where everyone works together to achieve success.

The Four Transformational Leadership Styles

Transformational leadership encompasses four different styles of leadership that focus on the leader’s relationship with their followers. These four styles are idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration.

Idealized Influence

Idealized influence is when a leader sets an example for their followers by living according to high ethical standards and being seen as a role model to others. This style of leadership involves guiding individuals to do what is right, rather than simply what is expedient.

For example, if you want to be seen as a true leader in your field, then always strive to make ethical decisions that are based on moral principles. By doing this, others will begin to trust you and look up to you as an inspiration.

Inspirational Motivation

The inspirational style of transformational leadership is about motivating and inspiring followers to achieve their goals. This type of leader often appeals to the emotions and values of their team, with a goal of making them feel empowered and like they can achieve things they never imagined possible.

To inspire your team, it is essential to show how passionate and excited about your work and the goals you are trying to achieve. Recognize and acknowledge their contributions and show a strong commitment to pursuing shared mission.

Intellectual Stimulation

Leadership that stimulates their teams intellectually are known as intellectual stimulation leaders. These leaders encourage their teams to develop creative solutions and ideas, and explore new ways of solving difficult problems. This type of approach allows teams to take intellectual risks and be innovative.

To engage in intellectual stimulation, it is important to ask your team challenging and thought-provoking questions, and hold open conversations that deal with a range of issues you’re facing. Encourage your team to explore new solutions, and reward people for innovative thinking.

Individualized Consideration

Individualized consideration means focusing on the needs of each team member individually. This involves taking the time to get to know each follower, paying attention to their strengths, challenges and needs and taking active steps to address those needs in effective ways.

To practice individualized consideration, make sure of regularly communicate with your team members and pay attention to them during one-on-one meetings. Ask them about their career goals and aspirations, mentor and coach them when needed and continuously give feedback to help them improve.

By blending these four transformational styles of leadership, you can drive better results for your business and motivate your team to reach their full potential.

Leaders who embody the Transformational Leadership Styles

As previously mentioned, there are various leadership styles, but the transformational leadership approach has proven to be exceptionally successful. Here are some examples of leaders who have embodied the transformational leadership styles, and how they have applied them:

Steve Jobs - Cofounder, Apple Inc. Jobs is notorious for inspiring a shared vision and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. He was able to paint a picture of what was possible without limiting the potential outcome with technical limitations. This inspired his team to take innovative risks and create groundbreaking technologies.

Indra Nooyi - Former CEO, PepsiCo Nooyi was able to apply the inspiration motivation style by setting high expectations for goals and outcomes, frequently highlighting the significance of particular accomplishments. She motivated her team to stay committed and focused by frequently acknowledging their progress and potential for growth.

Jeff Bezos - CEO, Amazon Bezos regularly applied intellectual stimulation by questioning his team’s assumptions and encouraging them to view problems in new and unique ways. By creating a culture of curiosity and open-mindedness, he has spurred on a pandemic of innovation at Amazon.

John Mackey - CEO, Whole Foods Market Mackey demonstrates idealized influence by leading by example. He lives out the vision and values of his company and encourages others to do the same. This builds trust and fosters a sense of camaraderie among the team.

Incorporating aspects of transformational leadership to lead with a focus on building relationships, driving innovation, and fostering growth has proven to have a tremendous impact on business success. By applying the transformational leadership principles, leaders can motivate and inspire their teams to be highly productive, achieve exceptional results, and ultimately create a positive workplace culture that attracts and retains top talent.

Identifying Your Leadership Style

Self-awareness is essential if you want to become an effective leader. Developing self-awareness requires being honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. Take the time to reflect on your personality, values, and the things that motivate you. By doing this, you can begin to identify the leadership style that best suits you.

To identify your leadership style, it can be helpful to look at examples of other leaders who you admire. You may find that you already engage in some of the behaviours associated with transformational leadership. You can also take self-assessment exercises, such as the Leadership Style Questionnaire, which can help you identify your dominant leadership style.

It’s important to note that everyone has a unique leadership style. While you can learn from other leaders, it’s crucial to find a style that works for you and your team. Additionally, your leadership style may evolve over time depending on the situation, so it’s important to remain open to feedback and adapt accordingly.

Remember, identifying your leadership style is only half the battle. Once you’ve determined what kind of leader you want to be, you need to act on that knowledge. Consistently demonstrate the behaviours aligned with your leadership style, and hold yourself accountable for your actions. By doing so, you’ll inspire others to do the same, and you’ll create an environment that fosters growth and success.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Transformational Leadership Styles

Transformational leadership has various advantages that can positively affect both the leader and the followers. First, the inspirational nature of the leadership style can motivate individuals to work harder and efficiently towards their goals. Second, it can lead to enhanced job satisfaction since the leader considers individuals’ needs, values, and aspirations. Third, transformational leadership can lead to better performance, especially in terms of innovation and creativity.

However, it’s worth noting that the transformational leadership style may not work well in all situations. One of the potential downsides of this leadership style is that the leader-personality dependency may create potential difficulties if the leader leaves the organization suddenly or fails to deliver the performance expected. Moreover, the inspiration and charisma that come with the leadership style may sometimes lead to overly ambitious or unrealistic goals, which can be damaging to the morale of the team. Finally, the uniting factor of transformational leadership can sometimes create divisions between followers with differing opinions on the vision of the leader.

If you want to apply transformational leadership to your style, it is important to keep these advantages and disadvantages in mind. By understanding both, you can work to mitigate any downsides of applying a transformational leadership style while still leading your team effectively.

Application of Transformational Leadership Styles in Business

If you do plan to apply transformational leadership styles in your organization, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, you need to ensure that your team is on board with this idea and understands what it means. This means that you need to provide training and guidance to your team members, so that they can learn about the different elements of transformational leadership and how to apply them in their day-to-day work.

Second, you need to create a culture that fosters this kind of leadership. This means creating an environment where people feel empowered to share their ideas and contribute to the organization’s vision. You also need to be open to feedback and willing to accept new ideas, even if they challenge your own assumptions.

Finally, you need to be consistent in your approach. This means that you need to apply transformational leadership styles consistently across different departments and levels of the organization. If you only apply this kind of leadership to certain parts of the organization, you risk creating an unbalanced culture that may not produce the results you want.

There are many success cases that demonstrate the effectiveness of transformational leadership styles in business. For example, consider the case of Zappos, the online shoe retailer. Zappos has a very strong culture that is based on the principles of transformational leadership, and this has helped the company to attract and retain talented employees, as well as build a loyal customer base.

Another example is Google, which is known for fostering innovation and creativity among its employees. Google’s leadership team has been very successful in creating a culture that encourages employees to take risks and try new things, which has led to many successful product launches and improvements over the years.

In conclusion, if you want to apply transformational leadership styles in your business, you need to be prepared to invest time and effort into creating the right environment and culture. You also need to be consistent in your approach and willing to learn from your mistakes. By doing so, you can create an organization that is dynamic, innovative, and successful.

Influence of Transformational Leadership Styles on the Organization

If you adopt and embody transformational leadership styles in your organization, it will positively affect your company culture. This kind of leadership style will inspire your employees as you communicate your vision, and encourage creativity, critical thinking, and innovation.

By inspiring an environment of creativity, you will help foster far more productive workplace than with other antiquated leadership models. Transformational leadership will enable your team to think more creatively and come up with brilliant new ideas. It will lead to employees collaborating more effectively and harmoniously.

As a transformational leader, you are leading a paradigm shift within the company as changes will take place in a non-threatening way, which ensures everyone feels heard and valued. You will be able to drive change that is beyond incremental, as the entire company is on board with you.

It is crucial that your focus does not only lay on your employees but that you encourage them to maintain focus on your clients as well. In this way, you can maintain an organizational culture of empathy, growth, and trust.

Overall, transformational leadership will fundamentally change the way your organization functions, and will give your team members a better sense of purpose as they progress towards a shared vision.

Final Thoughts

In today’s post, we have explored the world of transformational leadership styles, covering their characteristics, the four distinct styles, and how they can be applied in business.

As leaders and entrepreneurs, it is essential that we identify our leadership styles to unlock our full potential and drive success.

Now that we have delved into this subject, I have a question for you: which of the four transformational leadership styles do you think you embody, and how are you going to apply it in your business or everyday life?

I would love to hear from you, so feel free to send me a message and share your thoughts.

If you found value in today’s post, I would appreciate it if you could share it on social media so that others may learn and benefit from it.

I look forward to continuing this journey of leadership and entrepreneurship with you.

About the Author
Hi there, I'm James, founder of Melbado. I have over 20 years of experience as a leader and entrepreneur. Recently, I turned to leadership coaching and writing to pass on my knowledge to the next generation. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me via our contact page.


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