What's in Your Culture? A Closer Look at Transactional vs. Transformational Leadership

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Course Description

Every organization has a unique culture, or workplace DNA. This culture is largely driven by the leadership style of the organization’s C-suite. Two mid-80’s pioneers, Warren Bennis and Bert Nanus, concentrated their research on identifying the distinctive characteristics of leadership styles that ultimately became known as transformational and transactional leadership.

Transactional leadership styles are more rigid and follow a more linear format, sometimes described as “keeping the ship afloat.” The actual term “transaction” refers to the fact that this type of leader operates through “exchange” in rewards, processes and outputs. A transformational leader goes beyond managing day to day operations and designs strategies for taking the company, department or work team to the next level of performance or success. While these styles may reflect opposite ends of the spectrum, there is evidence that the 21st century workplace requires a hybrid form of leadership that is responsible for producing positive outcomes depending on team composition and other factors. 

Areas of exploration include:

  • Identifying attributes for each individual style
  • Matching styles to the team dynamics and organizational goals
  • Developing strategies for leading at all levels
  • Integrating styles into specific roles for team members

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