Transactional Leaders, Transformational Leaders, and Emotional Intelligence

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Transactional Leaders, Transformational Leaders, and Emotional Intelligence

The difference between transactional and transformational leaders lies in their process of motivating followers. Transactional leaders begin with established goals or directives of their company and motivate employees to pursue these directives by “clarifying role and task requirements” (Robbins, 2005: 367) through rewards or intervention if standards are not met. Basically, they employ a hands-off management style, but step in when they recognize that goals are not being attained. Transformational leaders focus on stimulating, motivating, and empowering their employees to achieve company directives by “appealing to higher ideals and moral values” (History of Leadership Research: 5). Basically, they employ charisma and proactive communication to inspire employees to excellence, but charisma isn’t the crowning trait—it’s merely a helping tool to generate excitement to excel and achieve profound results that appeal to higher, external ideals. And through personal example, transformational leaders serve as beacons to the possibility present in higher goals.

Additionally, a primary component in transformational leadership is developing a vision of the future that “will excite and convert potential followers” (Transformational Leadership, 2008). Transformational leaders loudly proclaim their visions, pursue them passionately, and continually sell them to their followers. They personally embody their vision and also develop the mental state and mindset in their employees to pursue this vision of the future.

These ideals of a transformational leader are contingent on having a high emotional quotient. Emotional intelligence, being “the ability to manage your own emotions” (Clawson, 2001: 3), entails more than the capacity to analyze, understand, be aware of, and control one’s own emotions. It also embodies an empathic ability to recognize and respond to emotions in others....
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