Before 1978, much of what we thought about leadership involved chains of command and direct responses. Leadership was seen as being very ordered. There were certain aspects and traits that leaders would have, but ultimately leadership boiled down to one thing: the leader. No focus was placed on the team that the leader was guiding. The contemporary theories of leadership originated through a man named James MacGregor Burns. Focusing on the idea of transformation, Burns took leadership to a brand-new level.
Why Do Modern Leadership Theories Involved Transformation?
If you look at any contemporary theory of leadership, there is some aspect of transformation within it. This is because the modern leader has to think on their feet. They cannot be set in their ways because change is always going on around them. If they are unable to adapt to that change, then they will fall behind other leaders who have a greater level of adaptability. The transformational concept allows a leader to shape their own self relationship to accept change while encouraging their team to embrace changes as well.
The goal of this leadership is simple: by embracing change, people are also embracing higher levels of innovation.
Transformational leadership also involves a higher level of ethics. Instead of applying ethics to each individual situation, the contemporary theories of leadership pose this idea: that leaders are governed by one overarching set of moral statutes. Not only does this provide more consistency from company to company and leader to leader, but it also allows for a sense of justice be achieved in every decision that is made.
Charisma Isn’t the Only Thing That a Modern Leader Needs
Charisma is an important part of leadership, but it can’t be the only component trait that a leader has. Leaders that rely solely on their magnetic personalities will find that they are making friends more than they are influencing policy and procedures. To raise a person’s performance in order to achieve higher standards requires inspiration. That’s where the transformational aspect of leadership meets the charisma that is required for the modern leader.
Charisma helps a leader form relationships. Once those relationships have been formed, a sense of loyalty begins to appear within a team. That loyalty is something that can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary under the guidance of contemporary theories of of leadership. To create this transition so that people can become a little better tomorrow than they were today, the modern leader must also be adaptable.
This means being able to recognize specific situations and then forming a response based on what is observed. Sometimes an authoritative response is required. At other times, transactional responses may be required. By elevating the morality of everyone involved, the outcome is an attainment of practical objectives on an organizational scale.
Contemporary theories of leadership might not focus on the chain of command, but they don’t ignore them either. When modern leaders incorporate these theories, then any team has a great opportunity for success.