From a boring job to a meaningful adventure!
Check out what transformational leadership does
“Employees can achieve superior business performance through their ability to generate ideas and translate these ideas into successful products and services.”
In today’s knowledge economy, work has become more knowledge based and less strictly defined.
Transformational leaders motivate their followers to relook their job by elevating the status of the job from being boring, repetitive and menial into something more meaningful and significant. This ascendance of employee’s job as something important and its contribution to overall organizational vision is what prompts them to engage in innovative work behaviour. Therefore, it would be interesting to test the indirect effect of transformational leadership on followers’ innovative work behaviour as mediated through followers’ perception of meaningful work.
Previous studies have indicated that employees’ innovative workplace behaviour (IWB) depends a great deal on their interaction with their peers, supervisors, subordinates, and clients.
One such valued interaction which leads to innovative ideas and creative work solutions is one that happens between an employee and his/her supervisor. Leaders strongly influence employees’ work behaviours, particularly their innovative behaviours.
Basadur (2004) stated that in future the most effective business leaders,
…will help individuals […] to coordinate and integrate their differing styles through a process of applied creativity that includes continuously discovering and defining new problems, solving those problems and implementing the new solutions. (p. 103)
Transformational leadership leads to performance beyond expectation by linking employees’ self-concept with organization’s mission and by urging their subordinates to think out of box and display innovative behaviour.
Gaps and limitations—
However, the relationship between transformational leadership and employee innovative behaviour still remains underdeveloped. A degree of ambiguity and confusion is also associated with the effect of transformational leadership.
Furthermore, Howell and Avolio (1999) in their study have discussed the manipulativeness of some charismatic leaders that raises question on the ethical intention of such leaders. Such leaders (pseudo-transformational leaders) will not approve of their follower’s innovativeness or creativity. These leaders would prefer their subordinates to be dependent on them than to be independent and productive.
What actually helps!
Transformational leaders positively influence followers’ job outcomes particularly their innovative behaviours by helping them attach meaning to their work.
This alignment of sense of meaningfulness of work with organizational goals motivate subordinates to perform beyond expectation, engage in extra role activities and demonstrate innovative workplace behaviour.
Transformational leaders encourage their followers to challenge status quo and stimulate them intellectually to look for innovative solutions to the existing problems. Due to high performance expectations from transformational leaders, the followers reciprocate creativity, innovativeness and entrepreneurial intentions.
Transformational leaders also constantly encourage their followers to not settle for mediocre
results and instigate them to strive for difficult and challenging goals by transforming the follower’s inclination for creative perspectives.
—Taken from Does Meaningful Work Explains the Relationship Between Transformational Leadership and Innovative Work Behaviour? in Vikalpa: The Journal for Decision Makers.