Part One: An Outstanding Transformational Leader – Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence emerged as a movie star and role model for young women everywhere a few years ago when she starred in the Hunger Games. Recently, she has started using her renown to advocate for equal pay between genders in Hollywood (Smith 2015). According to Bernard M. Bass, transformational leaders set high standards, “stir the emotions of the people,” and set clear goals (1985). Through her letter to Lena Dunham’s feminist newsletter Lenny Letters, Lawrence expressed her discontent with the pay gap, stimulating a conversation about gender inequality in Hollywood that’s still going on. Lawrence has long been an advocate for body positivity and is poised in a prime position to take advantage of her fame and employ transformational leadership to facilitate real change in one of the most discriminatory industries in the country.
AN OUTSTANDING pseudo-TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADER: Charles Manson
Pseudo-transformational leadership occurs when someone employs effective transformational leadership styles in order to further their own self interest. Charles Manson is an extreme example of what happens when transformational leadership goes wrong — but no one can deny that he was an effective leader. He convinced followers of his, frequently referred to as a “cult,” to commit several murders in the 1960s (2015). Charisma can be used for good and for ill, and Manson definitely used his extraordinary charisma for ill.
Part 2: MLQ 5X Questionnaire Results
I wasn’t exactly sure how to record my results to this questionnaire, so I took the average score for all the questions in each section.
Transformational Leadership Styles: 3.4/4
Transactional Leadership Styles: 2/4
Passive/Avoidant Leadership Styles: .5/4
PART 3: questions
a. Do you agree or disagree with the results? Why?
I agree — especially in the context of the projects on which I’ve been in a leadership role so far, most of which have been academic. It’s difficult to be a transactional leader when I can’t promise everyone an A for doing hard work because I won’t be the one handing out the grade. In an academic environment, everyone should motivate themselves to work hard to achieve the grade they want to get and learn everything they can get out of the class. For that reason, when I am in a leadership role, I focus more on problem solving and developing skills, because to me that is what matters in an academic context. I don’t employ laissez-faire leadership styles because the idea goes against my type A personality.
b. How does the knowledge of transformational leadership affect your definition of leadership, if at all?
This is one of those things that I always kind of knew but didn’t have the terminology to describe or the thought process to model. That being said, explicit knowledge of transformational leadership will require me to change my definition from
Leadership is when a person or group has the knowledge and skills to successfully take initiative, whether they choose to or have it thrust upon them, to inspire each follower to work with the group to achieve a common goal.
Leadership is when a person or group has the knowledge and skills to successfully take initiative, whether they choose to or have it thrust upon them, to inspire each follower to develop their skills, grow, and work with the group to achieve a common goal.
I feel as if this change reflects the efforts transformational leaders undertake to really change their followers and help everyone be the best they can be.
c. How does the knowledge of transformational leadership affect how you see yourself as a leader, if at all?
The knowledge of transformational/transactional leadership kind of confirms that I’m on the right track to becoming the kind of leader I want to be, and that that is indeed the direction to go in to maximize my effectiveness as a leader. I don’t want to be someone whose followers just get the job done and then go home and forget about what they did; I want my followers to really get something out of their work, both personally and professionally.
d. What authentic leadership traits do you need to display in order to be a better leader?
I think I need to be more charismatic and to learn to ask people about things outside the context of work. I’m really good at being available on my own time for work-related needs, and I love to help people understand how to do things or how to look at problems from a different direction. Sometimes I may come off as dismissive, which is detrimental to the idea of transformational leadership, so I have to work on engaging with my followers on a more personal level.