Transformational Leadership

Updated: May 21, 2021

In an ever-changing landscape the need for businesses to pivot and adapt to remain viable has accelerated like never before. More is expected of leaders to be agents and activators of change.

Over the years and history we’ve seen many different leadership styles and the evolution of what’s expected of leaders and needed by their followers, we’ve moved from laissez faire type leadership which is characterised by a denial of leadership responsibility to transactional type leadership which focuses on the use of rewards and punishments to incentivise followers to achieve goals and finally to transformational leadership.

In today’s marketplace transformational leadership is certainly most important, transformational leaders work with teams to identify needed change, creating a vision to guide the change through inspiration, and executing the change with followers.

What transformational leaders from history come to mind? What were the main characteristics exhibited by these leaders? We refer to transformational leadership from Bernard Bass in 1985 who described transformational leadership under 4 main areas: Inspirational Motivation, Intellectual Stimulation, Idealised Influence and Individualised Consideration

Inspirational Motivation

Inspirational motivation predominantly is centered around the ability to create a vision and inspire others with the guiding vision. To create engagement and buy in with vision, strong communication skills are needed, similarly purpose is why we do what we do in an organisation and strong transformational leaders understand the importance of having clear team and organisational purpose to guide their teams.

Idealised Influence

Idealised influence refers to the leaders who are role models for their followers, the achievement of idealised influence is gained through authenticity, being your true self at work, ethics and integrity and the ability to create an environment of trust, always acting with integrity.

Individualised Consideration

Individualised consideration is centered on the understanding of the needs of followers and the focus on developing these followers – coaching, mentoring and developing these followers to fully achieve their potential.

Intellectual Stimulation

Intellectual stimulation is particularly important in today’s marketplace with the need to evolve and continuously improve. Intellectual stimulation is leadership which constantly challenges the status quo, focuses on creativity and innovating and encouraging followers to test new ideas and take risks.


Avril Gaughan is the Head of Change at Apricot Consulting. Apricot is a global consulting firm that architects human behaviours that drive commercial and social outcomes. Apricot Consulting specialises in leadership development, executive coaching, change management, digital HR, and social impact. If you would like to understand more about our change services, please contact Avril at the details below.

Avril Gaughan | Head of Change and Consumer Behaviour


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