Leadership is the process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal (Northouse, 2007). Leaders’ persistent efforts aiming at improving the organization is called organizational change (Abbas & Asghar cited by Hirlak & Kara, 2018). Important element for a successful change in any organization is ‘leadership’. There are various leadership styles as put forward by different theorists, and each style has its own impact on change management (Ajmal et al., nd). Researches show that the leadership style, which may keep up with the changes that may occur around the business while keeping its organizations at the top level in terms of efficiency, is called ‘Transformational Leadership Model’ (Hirlak & Kara, 2018). Transformational leadership brings about change and organizational effectiveness (Bass Avolio, waldman & Eistein, and Yammarino & Bass cited by Ellis, 2007).
In this paper, it is illustrated how transformational leaders bring changes and make them sustainable. Specifically, with reference to Nelson Mandela as an example, the behavioral components of inspirational motivation, idealized influence, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration are used to show how transformational leaders brings about changes and make them sustainable.
Transformational leaders show behaviors that can be classified into four different styles: inspirational motivation, idealized influence, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration (Hughes, 2014). It is through these four identifiable components that transformational leaders can bring change and sustain them. The following is the description of each component and how it facilitates transformational leaders to bring about changes and sustain those changes with reference to Nelson Mandela as an example.
A leader with idealized influence (charisma) makes his/her followers tend to try to be like their (transformative) leader. This is because of the leader’s high standards of moral and ethical conduct. The followers deeply respect and trust transformative leaders. Transformative leaders provide followers with the sense of mission and a vision (Northouse, 2007). An example of such a leader is Nelson Mandela, who is considered as a leader who possessed elevated degree of ethical standards. Nelson Mandela set South Africa Free from the system of racism and intolerable violence and healed the whole nation. Mandela frequently said that “Courage is not an absence fear but it is inspiring others to move beyond it”. This is one of the components of transformational leadership, which is an ability to inspire others and it is through this that Nelson Mandela brought change to South Africa and united the entire nation. Nelson Mandela is still a role model to many today.
With inspirational motivation, transformational leaders are willing and devoted to accept legitimate power and it is with this power that they bring about and control the process of change. The transformational leaders are perceived as being the best in leading. Their commitment and passion to their vision inspires their followers and enhances the process of change towards positive outcome (Lowder, 2009). By considering Nelson Mandela as an example of a transformational leader, and showing how transformational leaders bring and sustain change, inspirational motivation is one of the ways. For example, in 1943 to avoid African National Congress (ANC) from being alienated Nelson Mandela and his close allies convinced the President of ANC that as ANC they have to form a youth division. The vision came to be shared in the ANC and it became the whole group’s vision and everybody was committed to achieving it. This shows how Nelson Mandela as the transformational leader used inspiration to change ANC and the followers towards the struggle for South African Independence which resulted to its independence in 1994.
Another component is intellectual stimulation. This is the capacity of the leader to motivate followers to ‘think out of the box’, when finding solutions to various challenges, in that way resulting in creativity and innovation (Bass, as cited by Agyemang, Boating & Dzandu, 2017). With intellectual stimulation followers are encouraged to try new approaches to problem solving. This increases followers’ awareness and interest in problems and enhancing their ability to find other ways of dealing with problems (Griffin & Rafferty, 2004). Literature shows that one of the most intellectually stimulating leaders was Socrates (Reza, 2019). In connection with Nelson Mandela as a transformational leader, he made ANC members and those following him believe that their sacrifices and decisions would lead to South African independence. Nelson Mandela’s determination, audacity, and patience were shown when he was imprisoned by the colonialist and this was an important drive for motivation of South African towards the fight for independence.
Individualized consideration involves the leader’s degree of providing support, instructions, and encouraging followers. Under this component according to Bass and Riggo, as cited by Gonfa (2019), there is an individual interaction between a leader and a follower. A leader walks around the working environment, which as a result will help the leader to know the followers, examine problems stumbled upon, spot the gap and help to give solutions (Gonfa, 2019). This component can be connected with Nelson Mandela as an example of transformational leader. After being freed from jail, in the process of making a government he formed a cabinet composed of even people who jailed him. He did this because he believed that leadership is not about helping those who already trust in a leader, but it is about convincing those who have doubt on a leader so that he can be trusted. This proves how a transformational leader can bring and sustain change through individualized consideration as Mandela did, by considering his interest but the greater good.
There is undeniable connection between leadership and change and its sustainability. This paper has shown there is the relationship between the style of leadership and the process of change. Transformational style of leadership is the style of leadership that has shown to be the fitting style in bringing change and sustaining the change. Based on this paper transformational leaders can bring changes through idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration. Nelson Mandela has been used as an example of transformational leader and how he applied the four components in bringing change and sustaining change in South Africa.
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