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?

6 thoughts on “What are the components of Transformational Leadership?

  1. Pingback: Transformational Leadership | Leadership Development for Higher Education | Saint Louis University

  2. Can you please give some scenarios as example in which components of transformational leadership gets exercised.

  3. Pingback: Positive Thinking to Personal Success » What are the components of Transformational Leadership?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s