Transformational and Transactional Leadership
Thomas J. Kenny
Dec 16, 2011
Many styles of leadership exist in the management world. Most of these approaches are very similar to one another. Two very different styles of leadership are the transactional and transformational leadership styles identified by James Burns in 1978. These leadership styles are almost polar opposites of one another, with employees in the transactional leadership style motivated by rewards and benefits, and employees in the transformational style motivated by their charismatic managers. These two leadership styles, though different from each another, can be very effective tools in the world of policing.
Transactional leadership represents “those exchanges in which both the superior and the subordinate influence one another reciprocally so that each derives something of value.”(Yukl, 1981) This style of leadership can be compared to dangling a carrot in front of someone, or giving officers who write the most tickets steady weekends off. Leaders who use this style give their subordinates something they want in exchange for something that the leader wants.
The reward system of leadership used by the transactional leader can also involve rewards or values that are not as easily tangible such as trust and respect. Burns(1978) referred to these values as modal values; “modal values bond leaders to followers in an attempt to actualize the needs of both parties.” These rewards such as trust and respect may still be given out by low level police supervisors who may not have the authority to give out overtime or authorize special days off.
While transactional leadership is concerned with increasing production and motivation through a reward based system, transformational leadership is concerned with making the employee want to succeed. Bass & Steidlmeier (1998) describes this difference...