Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Transformational Leadership

Transformational Leadership is a dynamic form of leadership.  Leaders strive to empower followers to take ownership of the vision and become leaders themselves.  As a collective group, the achievement of the vision is internalized and motivates the individuals to have a stake in the accomplishment.

This form of leadership is based upon the research of James Burns, who is considered a founder in modern leadership theory.  Burns defined leadership as "leaders inducing followers to act for certain goals that represent the values and the motivation - the wants and the needs, the aspirations and expectations - of both leaders and followers."

Bass (Bass, 1985) expounded upon that by introducing the "Four I's" of transformational leadership:
1.  Individual Consideration
2.  Intellectual Stimulation
3.  Inspirational Motivation
4.  Idealized Influence

Further, Kenneth Leithwood (1994) posed that the Four I's of transformational leadership are "necessary skills for school principals if they are to meet the challenges of the 21st century."  (Marzano, 2005)  As teaching and learning adapt to include new processes related to technology integration, leaders must be able to (1) realize that all individuals in the school are at different levels of technology proficiency, (2) allow for exploration to meet old challenges in new ways, (3) Communicate research and ethical need for new applications, and (4) model and reinforce the new approaches.  This approach will inspire the organization to take ownership for the knowledge and skills required for success in 21st century education.

Traits of Transformational Leaders
  • Believe they can make a difference
  • Living the change they wish to see
  • Real change comes from within
  • Courage to reach
  • Encourage exploration of individual thinking
  • Empower others
  • Believe in others
  • Strong values and principles
  • Change is necessary for growth
  • Failure is part of learning
  • Compassionate
  • Give meaning and purpose to others

An excellent video clip to illustrate the traits of transformational leadership is Facing the Giants- Transformational Leadership, posted to YouTube by SarkiUCI

Bass, B. M. (1985). Leadership and Performance Beyond Expectations. New York: Free Press.
Burns, J. (1978). Leadership. New York: Harper & Row.
Leithwood, K. (1994). Leadership for School Restructuring. Educational Administration Quarterly, 498-518.
Marzano, R. J. (2005). School Leadership that Works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
SarkiUCI. (2008, August 27). Facing the Giants :: Transformational Leadership. Retrieved May 18, 2011, from YouTube:


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