Significant Behaviors of Transactional Leadership

Comparative study is an excellent method to understand greatness in certain things. Neurons have a pattern of learning objects by relating them. This is important for faster recollection which otherwise termed as quicker learning or better understanding. When someone says “Lightning”, you remember words like “Thunder” and “Rain” even without hinting. When I say “Transformational Leadership” you automatically think of “Transactional Leadership”. In this post, let us see significant behavior’s of Transactional Leadership for better understanding of “Transformational Leadership”.

As per Bass, “Transformational Leadership is in someways an expansion of Transactional Leadership”. With detailed Full Range of Leadership Model, he clearly explained how one can link Transactional and Transformational behaviors.

Transactional Leadership is based on exchange between leaders and followers. Leaders explain what needs to be done & what followers will get on achieving the goal. Significant Transactional Leadership Behaviors are:

1) Contingent Reward(CR)

2) Management-by-exception (either Actively or Passively) – MBE

3) “Hands-Off” or Laissez-Faire Leadership (LF)

Above behaviors are widely followed throughout the world as leadership styles also. These behaviors are having its own merits and it is not wrong in following them. Even a leader can be effective by using these transactional leadership behaviors appropriately at the right time.

Contingent Reward (CR)“If you finish up these goals with high-quality then you will get good bonus next year”. This is a usual statement you hear from any manager. Most of the time, this style is effective in motivating the team. But surely, it is always linked with benefit, hence it is transactional.

Management-by-Exception (MBE) – The name itself explains the way. Based on the output (exceptions) leaders take corrective actions. As this one is more related to issues rather than rewards, it is less effective than CR. There are two types of MBE.

MBE – Active(MBE-A) involves proactively identifying & tracking possible issues, mistakes and errors in the assigned activities. This style is required in some activities where safety is important.

MBE – Passive(MBE-P) involves taking corrective action until issues occur. When compared to MBE-Active, this one is less effective.

Laissez-Faire Leadership (LF) is doing nothing as a Leader – ignoring all its responsibilities. Letting others do the work & avoiding to show. Researchers termed this as “Non-transactional” and as the “Most Ineffective Leadership Style”. This behavior is shown when one holds the positional level leadership without the required skill or interest in the job.


1. Transformational Leadership (Second Edition) BY Bernard M. Bass, Ronald E. Riggio, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.,2006

What are the components of Transformational Leadership?

Leadership does not end with the person who shows the characteristics. Leadership is a journey; Journey is moving from one point to another – Leadership is moving from one level to another; even if you return to the same point you will have a different level of thinking and understanding. Leadership needs followers, it requires dedication and one needs to follow its principles throughout his/her life. This might be the reason why it is a bit complex to understand Leadership as a whole.

We already briefed about Transformational Leadership in earlier post, now it is required to know the constituents of it to practice it well. Transformational Leadership has a long history and it evolved after earlier theories on behavioral, trait, charismatic & situational leadership models. So, it has overlapping with those other theories. Especially, Charisma is one of the components of Transformational Leadership.

There are four components of Transformational Leadership[1]. Some time it is referred as four I‘s of Transformational Leadership. They are:

1. Idealized Influence(II)
2. Inspirational Motivation (IM)
3. Intellectual Stimulation (IS)
4. Individualized Consideration (IC)

Idealized Influence (II):

Whoever be the writer or presenter, everyone agrees that -‘Influence’ is the first and foremost out of all leadership qualities. The stress on influence is more with the word ‘Idealized’. About Influence –

Maxwell says – “The true measure of leadership is Influence nothing more, nothing less.”

You will understand more about Influence when you read Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. John P. Kotter dealt in detail on this topic in his book “Power and Influence”.

No matter whoever it is, as a Transformational Leader, you have the capability to become the role model for them. You are respected & admired by your followers. They have a separate place for you in their heart. You have absolute trust on your followers and they also have it for you. Your followers understand that you have great potential and determination which will take them to higher levels. You are having the willingness to take risks and be consistent. In any situation, you show high standards of conduct.

Inspirational Motivation (IM):

One or the other way, Inspiration and Motivation are always part of leadership. We know about Inspiration and motivation separately and they are used interchangeably. Let us see their connection in the below highlighted text before we get into Inspirational Motivation.

Motivation really comes down to inspiration. Since motivation comes from within, it is a form of self-inspiration. This process is nurtured by watching others achieve their goals. Most often it is developed by following the example of leaders who do the right thing for people, communicate frequently, empower vigorously, coach regularly, and sacrifice for others.[2]

As a Transformational Leader, you have a vision. You communicate expectations with followers and show optimism in reaching the goal. By your vision, activities and behavior, your followers get motivated and inspired. They all feel team spirit and work enthusiastic as a group. They start demonstrating their commitments towards the goal. Motivation can occur only if two-way communications happen.

Intellectual Stimulation (IS):

“People respond to a challenge because it taps their inner desire to succeed.”[2]

This component deals with stimulating followers’ analytical skills and problem solving ability. Everyone has the skill to analyze problems in their hand. Each one has a different approach to an issue. As a Transformational Leader, you need to allow followers’ to come up with their solution (it may be different from yours) for the same problem. If the issue is not understandable you can help them to re-frame it. Encourage them to approach old issues with new methods to come up with meaningful output.  Encourage their creativity and innovation. Don’t criticize or don’t pass sarcastic comments in public.

Individualized Consideration (IC):

Each individual is different. Followers’ have different needs & show different levels of potential. As a Transformational Leader, you need to accept this. You need to develop higher levels of potential. It cannot be achieved by showing the same level of attention. You should take special care of each individual follower’s need for achievement and growth. Provide supportive environment. Have clear two-way communication in understanding their concerns. Develop your follower by delegating tasks. Monitor and provide improvement tips on delegated activities and make them produce finer output. This increases followers’ confidence and morale.

Closing Notes:

I thought it is worth mentioning a quote and a Q & A from Steven Covey. Following is the quote by Steven Covey on Transformational Leadership:

“The goal of transformational leadership is to “transform” people and organizations in a literal sense – to change them in mind and heart; enlarge vision, insight, and understanding; clarify purposes; make behavior congruent with beliefs, principles, or values; and bring about changes that are permanent, self-perpetuating, and momentum building.”

Following is a Q & A from “The Mission Statement That Changed The World”, posted on March 3rd, 2008 in Steven Covey’s Blog (Link). You can match each of the transformational components with Gandhi’s mission statement listed below.

Q: Who is one of your personal heroes?

A: Mahatma Gandhi. Let me read you his personal mission statement:

“Let the first act of every morning be to make the following resolve for the day:
* I shall not fear anyone on Earth.
* I shall fear only God.
* I shall not bear ill will toward anyone.
* I shall not submit to injustice from anyone.
* I shall conquer untruth by truth. And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.”

– Mahatma Gandhi


1. Transformational Leadership (Second Edition) BY Bernard M. Bass, Ronald E. Riggio, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.,2006
2. Great Motivation Secrets of Great Leaders BY John Baldoni, McGraw-Hill,2005

My Other posts on Transactional & Transformational Leadership:

1. Transactional Leadership Vs. Transformational Leadership

2. Is anything called transactional leadership exists?

Brief Overview on Project Time Management Processes

In Project Management, Time Management comes in first place with the project definition. If you see the definition of the project –

A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result. [1]

Temporary” is the key word used to show the importance of Time Management in Project Management. Developing & managing schedule is always challenging for a Project Manager. All activities should be completed within stipulated time to come up with unique result or service. This is what PMBOK says –

“Project Time Management includes the processes required to accomplish timely completion of the project”

Let us review the Time Management processes briefly:

Project Time Management consists of 6 major processes. 5 of them are under Planning Process Group & 1 process comes under Monitoring & Control Process Group.

Activity Definition: Identifying & Defining all specific activities that is needed to produce project deliverables (Planning Process Group)

Activity Sequencing: Identifying dependencies between project activities and documenting the sequence in which they need to be executed to achieve the project output in time (Planning Process Group)

Activity Resource Estimating: Resources are men, materials and machines that are required to execute different project activities. Determining what different type of resource required, in what quantity and when each resource will be available to perform the activities is worked out in this process(Planning Process Group)

Time Management Processes

Time Management Processes

Activity Duration Estimating: In this process, estimation of required time is done to carry out a defined activity based on the scope & resource availability. Accuracy of this process leads to exact schedule development of whole project & cost estimation of resources (Planning Process Group)

Schedule Development: Coming up with planned start and end dates for every activity & also for the entire project happens in this process. This process uses activity sequences, duration estimation, resource estimation & project schedule constraints to arrive the project schedule. Few well established techniques are already available. Output of this process is approved and used as schedule baseline against which project progress is tracked (Planning Process Group)

Schedule Control: This process explains project status monitoring, finding changes in the schedule(early you find lesser the impact!) and controlling schedule changes to meet planned schedule. Communication is more important in this process (Monitoring & Controlling Process Group)

One can notice high interdependency between time management processes. It is not required that all these processes to be defined separately. In some cases like a project with smaller scope may have all time management processes combined in a single process.

[1]. PMBOK® Guide – 3rd edition