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Is leadership a transformational or control process?

Leadership is defined as the art of influencing others. Leadership is a universal concept that is prevalent all across the globe (Shamir, House and Arthur, 1993). Every organization has some form of leadership present in it. In fact an individual as a successful person in his or her career is identified by the leadership qualities he or she possesses. Besides, the success of an organization is determined by the wise decisions taken by people who lead the organization. Some believe leadership to be a trait and some others consider it as a process. Trait approach of leadership claims, leadership to be an inbuilt quality to be possessed by very few people. Trait approach defines leadership as a set of certain pre-defined qualities possessed by a person to certain degree. On the other hand, process approach identifies leadership as a phenomenon that is created by the level of interaction between superiors and sub-ordinates. Irrespective of the approach followed, leadership exhibited by a person creates some sort of influence on the others. It induces people to change their values and attitudes in favor of the person who leads them (Bryman, 1992). This essay critically evaluates whether leadership is either a transformational process or a form of control from a theoretical perspective.

Leadership is a trait that some people possess by birth (Northouse, 2009). Others through exposure and experience develop leadership qualities over a period of time. People who have in-built leadership qualities are always far superior in terms of performance and moral values when compared with people who develop the art of leadership through experience and external training. Any result achieved by exercising control on others control will neither be effective nor last long. On the other hand, the result achieved by inspiring and motivating others is extraordinary and will last forever. Historical evidences as well as modern day examples have shown us the real meaning of leadership and the benefits that effective leadership can bring in to an organization. It can be understood that real meaning of leadership lies in transforming people and a real leader is one who has the ability to inspire the followers.

Thus it can be concluded, that leadership is more or less a transformational process rather than a form of control.


  1. Northouse P G (2009), Leadership: Theory and Practice, SAGE, India.
  2. Shamir B, House R J and Arthur M B (1993). The motivational effects of charismatic leadership: A self-concept based theory. Organization Science, UK
  3. Bryman A (1992), Charisma and Leadership in Organizations, SAGE, London

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