By Dr. Sandra L. Torres
Transformational leadership is probably the most popular of all leadership theories for one simple reason: Transformational leaders have a positive effect on their followers and in turn influence positive change. James MacGregor Burns first introduced the concept of transforming leadership in his 1978 research on political leaders. He later applied his concept to challenge of differentiation between management and leadership and claimed that the important differences are in characteristics and behaviors.
Today, transformational leadership’s popularity is due to the tremendous impact it has on follower motivation and performance. Modern leaders face a number of internal and external challenges. The way a leader deals with these challenges depends on his ability to make changes through example, articulate an energizing vision, and challenge existing processes. According to Burns, the transforming approach creates significant changes the lives of people and organizations by redesigning perceptions and values and changing the expectations and aspirations of employees. Leaders who transform work to benefit their team, organization and/or community.