6 Pros and Cons of Transformational Leadership

Theories of leadership have evolved for decades into various forms, with each having its own line of thoughts and providing a model of effectively managing a team. One of these theories is transformational leadership, which is considered as a more humane theory, unlike other types such as the militaristic transactional leadership style. Basically, this approach inspires employees to perform excellent work with the force of the leader’s example and personality. Also, it believes that people can rise higher with positive motivation compared with negative motivation.

While many people see a lot of good in transformational leadership, there are also those who see some drawbacks in it. Here are the pros and cons of this approach:

List of Pros of Transformational Leadership

1. It allows for quick formulation of a vision.
This approach stands out from other leadership styles in its ability to quickly assess an organization’s current situation and formulate a vision for its improvement and growth. Transformational leaders communicate their visions properly to other leaders in their organizations and to all the employees to get everyone on board. This would help them deal with challenging situations, as all people can see the big picture.

2. It promotes enthusiasm.
This leadership model is said to create an enthusiastic work environment and drives a company with changes and innovations. As individuals are working through self-motivation, this approach would particularly guarantee a higher level of efficiency and output.

3. It uses inspiration to motivate people.
Transformational leadership’s vision aligns with the ability to motivate and inspire. Basically, passion is a common trait that enables transformational leaders to get their members to optimize performance. When getting through difficult times, these leaders would depend on their passion to help sell their vision and get employees headed to a common direction.

List of Cons of Transformational Leadership

1. It can face serious detail challenges.
While transformational leaders are known for their inspirations and big picture visions, they would struggle with detail orientation at times. Experts say that these types of leaders would need support from more detail-oriented and organized people, which means that other executives, assistants or certain team members would be needed to help maintain a transactional focus that can keep the vision of these leaders moving in the right direction.

2. It might overlook reality and truth.
It has been noted that that transformational leaders might fall in the trap of depending too much on passion and emotion that they would tend to overlook reality and truth. This over-reliance can also restrict their willingness to delve into research and logical reasoning to face harsh truths about the situation of their companies.

3. It carries the potential for abuse.
Though this type of leadership is powerful, it is not always used morally and for the common good. Actually, not all of those often associated with this approach fit the definition. As you can see, Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden are also cited as examples of those using this type of leadership.

Those who employ transformational leadership are able to achieve change by motivating their followers to set aside short-term and individual interests to work together toward a common goal. Although this approach sounds appealing, it also comes with drawbacks. So, if you are planning to implement this form of leadership, it is important to weigh its pros and cons first.

Author Biography
Keith Miller has over 25 years of experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.