Towards Transformational Leadership

by | 4 Mar 2024

Have you ever wondered what type of leader you are? Anyone can engage in leadership, it’s how you lead that matters! Many of us fall into leadership positions because we are asked and want to do something to help. But leadership is so much more than this, it drives change. An important start is to make a conscious decision about your leadership. This means to actually see yourself as a leader. From there, the next step is to work out what type of leader you are / want to be and make it happen. Today, I am sharing two types of leadership – transactional or transformational. I want you to be able to identify which mirrors you now and which one you want to do more of or grow into to. Take a read and give it a go. And share with others you know are keen to develop their leadership.

1. Be a Dreamer

Have you heard this John Farnham song?

Some people are dreamers, they live for the future

As if it would work out, just as they dreamed it

Would work out – somehow

Others get caught in, yesterday’s papers

Too busy reading, to get on with living …….

I say a BIG YES to having a dream. And then to transform your own dream and the vision of others to make it happen – this is leadership. The song goes on;

Just give me a reason and I’ll come running

When I have reasons, I know the way

I’m pointing my feet in the right direction

Give me a reason

“Most of your people live for now, waiting to be given a reason. When they are given the reason, they can do what needs to be done, and they will want to do what had to be done. It is not folly to have a dream about the direction in which your group, or your team, or your work centre, or your organisation is heading. It is folly to keep it in your head and not tell others about the dream or how to make it a reality.” Ken Parry

2. Transform

Having a vision (visionary leadership) is a key part of being a transformational leader. The transformational leader sees potential in others and motivates them to do more than they would normally be expected to do. It’s the followers that are transformed in terms of confidence and through buying into the vision, they work to achieve better outcomes than anyone of them thought possible. This is achieved by;

  • Raising a follower’s level of awareness about the importance of the work they do;
  • Switching out the self interest of followers for those of their team or organisation;
  • Altering the follower’s motivations by assisting them to see what’s possible.

3. Transformational Leadership

So let’s define transformational leadership. It’s future and change oriented. It questions the status quo. Transactional leadership is oriented towards maintaining the status quo. Transformational leaders take the time and make the effort to envision the future. What will the future look like and how they, the business and their work will need to be and what it will need to do to be successful. They communicate this with their followers and make their visions clear. As a result, people want this future and want to be a part of this future. Transformational leaders personalise their interactions and lead and develop their colleagues to higher levels of ability and potential. They support followers to have a go and step outside their comfort zone, experiencing what a new normal can be like for them. Once followers have this experience they want more and they want the same for others. Can you see how transforming occurs? It’s super powerful.

4. Managers Versus Leaders

Generally, I see;

Managers = transactional leadership.

Leaders = transformational leadership.

Transformational leadership incorporates visionary leadership. Take a look at this list from Ken Parry. Both managers and leaders have their place. Effective leadership is about transformation, so if you are in the game of wanting to create future change then check out the Leaders column. In fact, go a step further. Tick off which of the following actions you do in your every day work. Then see which ones you want to develop. Make an action list of these.





Group orientation






Avoid change

Avoid risk

Follow a plan







Individualised orientation






Thrive on change

Take risks

Communicate a vision



5. Make a Choice

Leadership is something you can learn once you have your own idea of what it is! I hope reading this article is helping you to decide if you want to fall on the transactional or the transformational side. Both are important and achieve a great deal. But it’s important to choose as this will help you decide on what job/s you may wish to have / do. Leadership isn’t just something you are born with. Everyone can learn and practise the knowledge, skills and behaviours of great leadership. If you choose transformational leadership then start right here;

  1. Be a role model
  2. Motivate others
  3. Develop, paint and share a future oriented vision (in the words of John Farnham – give me a reason)
  4. Individualise the needs of others

Over to You

We include activities about transformational and transactional leadership in many of the Programs we facilitate. We see people’s eyes open and question their current leadership skills and behaviours and then smiles all round when they realise that they have a choice to develop their transformational leadership. As a result we see people leave Programs and progress their careers, become leaders, work with others better than ever before and feel gratitude that they pushed themselves out of their comfort zone and made a choice to be a transformational leader (if this is what they wanted). I want the same for you. Please take one or two or maybe even three things from this article and put them in place today. Good luck. And please feel free to reach out to me here if you think I can help in any way.

Until next time!

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About the Author

Jo Eady

Jo Eady

I’m a leadership specialist, a human centred facilitator and a modern day storyteller. I live in Victoria, Australia. For the past two decades I’ve developed and facilitated a range of leadership initiatives, strategies and programs and have coached many across Australia’s agricultural and rural sectors. I love being a change agent and my key motto right now is courage over comfort. I support others to develop their own leadership essence and shine from the inside out.