A transactional leader is a type of leader who uses rewards and punishments to gain compliance from their followers (Hargis, Wyatt, & Piotrowski, 2011). A transactional leader concentrates on administration, organization, and presentation to promote compliance of the subjects.
Since these leaders are focused on maintaining rules, they pay more attention to the work of the employees to find faults and deviations. By adhering to the path-goal theory, these leaders set goals and express explicit agreements on their expectations from the organizational members (Bass, 2008). They also express how they are to reward the dedication of the associates. Transactional leaders concentrate on enhancing the competence of conventional customs, as they are more apprehensive with the present regulations than changes within the organization.
Illustrations of transactional leaders include coaches of athletic teams and former Wisconsin State Senator, Joseph McCarthy. McCarthy’s style is ruthless as he repeatedly punished deviants and rewarding followers who brought him the accused communist infiltrators.
The strength of transactional leaders lies in extrinsic motivation, their desire to accept goals and culture of an organization. They are instructional and action-oriented and may be enthusiastic to operate within the present systems. Transactional leaders tend to be more passive and highly depend on self-motivated individuals to work in the structured and directed environment.
I admire this kind of leadership. This is because it motivates its followers by promoting rewards and instilling a deep sense of commitment that followers can risk obtaining the desired results. Although it is termed as a ruthless form of leadership, it is useful in the events if crises as it set the rules and expectations that followers must adhere to. Moreover, the leadership style creates a relationship between the workers and the leaders as well as developing awareness of the mission and goals of every worker.
Bass, B. (2008). Bass & Stogdill’s Handbook of Leadership: Theory, Research & Managerial
Applications (4th ed.). New York, NY: The Free Press.
Hargis, B. M., Wyatt, J. D. & Piotrowski, C. (2011). Developing Leaders: Examining the Role of
Transactional and Transformational Leadership Across Contexts Business. Organization Development Journal. 29 (3): 51–66.