Transformational leadership theory will help you become a better leader in the Age of Technology

This article explores transformational leadership and the core competencies for improving the use of information technology. I indicate that transformational leaders act as change agents who have developed competencies to better deploy information technology. This article contributes to practice by developing a more comprehensive understanding of the relationships between transformational leadership and information technology.

How transformational leadership surpasses other leadership theories

Today‘s global business environments involve a high level of uncertainty and organizations will increasingly need more and better leaders to lead them. Transformational leaders may be more innovative and creative but some type of leadership is necessary to lead a global organization. Since there are a plethora of leadership models and theories, my emphasis is on becoming better at leading organizations with more leaders practicing transformational leadership.

Although some scholars critique the literature of leadership for having no relevance between leadership theories and today‘s changing business environment, transformational leadership has proven results in organizations. For example, influencing employee individual interests to align with organizational interests, and through inspiring followers to create new ideas and innovations for effective business outcomes.

Following the evolution of leadership theories, the early 1980s has been earmarked by dissatisfactions from previous leadership theories, which were a dichotomy of people-oriented versus task-oriented views. Subsequently, a new shift occurred in leadership studies with this new paradigm based on transformational leadership. Transformational leadership is easy to understand, implement, and get followers to be one-voice and vocal throughout the organization. It is apparent that transformational leadership is more realistic than some of the other leadership theories.

Recently, five scholars that are well known in the Academy of Management, one of the largest leadership and management organizations in the world by the names of Jessica Dinh, Robert Lord, William Gardner, Jeremy Meuser and Robert Liden reviewed the articles published in 10 top-tier academic journals, including The Leadership Quarterly, Administrative Science Quarterly, American Psychologist, Journal of Management, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Organizational Science, and Personnel Psychology. By analyzing 752 cases, these scholars concluded that transformational leadership is still one of the most dominant paradigms as compared to other leadership theories such as trait theory, behavioral theories, and situational theories. The findings of this study are illustrated in the following Table.

Leadership Theories

Total Publications        

Trait Theories

             149

Behavioral Theories

              64

Situational Theory

              55

Transformational Leadership Theory

             154

A review of articles published in 10 top-tier academic journals

Now that I have identified that transformational leadership has risen to a phenomenon that is worth understanding, learning, and using in organizations around the world, let us look at leading technology using transformational leadership.

Leading technology using transformational leadership

Transformational leaders develop relationships and interactions within companies, set desired expectations and inspire followers to identify further opportunities in their business environment. The idealized influence aspect of transformational leadership can be considered as an important facilitator of technological communication, which enhances interactions among organizational members and departments and improves the extent to which knowledge is shared and is accessible for all employees. Therefore, I suggest that transformational leaders enhance effectiveness when they blend technological communication to enhance their leadership role. In fact, transformational leaders serve as role models that highlight the importance of the application of information technology and they are often admired and respected by subordinates.

Executives also spend a great deal of time conceptualizing strategic endeavors and Selby Noseworthy, an author and scholar in the area of management at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada affirms that the strategic role of transformational leaders is enhanced when information technology implementation occurs at the right time and place. Transformational leaders, in fact, raise the levels of awareness on the importance of technology and empower people to improve information technology implementation within organizations. This managerial implementation improves both competitive advantage and enhances the time and efficiency of task significance leading to satisfied followers who take better care of stakeholders. Thus, transformational leadership builds a foundational platform for effectively leading information technology within organizations.

In conclusion

Cultivating effective information technology assists in developing transformational leadership within organizations. In light of the increased pressures of the global workplace that inspires leaders to drive effective change at the organizational level, this article points out the vital importance of transformational leadership in effectively leading information technology to achieve higher degrees of competitiveness. This article provides elaborative insight for both executives and followers by illuminating how transformational leaders can lead information technology within companies.        

References

Dinha JE, Lord RG, Gardner WL, Meuser JD, Liden RC and Hu J 2014 ‘Leadership theory and research in the new millennium: Current theoretical trends and changing perspectives‘, Leadership Quarterly, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 36-62.

Noseworthy, S 1998, Transformational leadership and information technology: implications for secondary school Leaders. Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada.

Mostafa Sayyadi is a Senior Management Consultant and Former Leadership Team Member of San Diego-based The Change Leader Consulting Inc. He is an| Associate Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, a Book Author and Business and Technology Journalist.   

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