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Art & Culture, Business & Politics, Digital Media & Communications

Outstanding Followers and the Leaders Behind Them

The dynamic between leaders and their followers is one inclusive of many intricacies and analyses. According to many studies within psychology, sociology, business, or communications, there are 2 primary types of leadership – transactional and transformational. Transformational leadership “includes charisma, intellectual stimulation, individualized consideration, and inspirational motivation” (Barbuto, 2005). Transactional leadership, on the other hand, is described “as a simple process of creating strong expectations with employees, along with clear indications of what they will get in return for meeting these expectations” (Blanchard & Johnson, 1985). Within a transactional dynamic, leaders and followers decide upon a performance management system where both parties work towards mutual goals.

In recent studies, charismatic leadership has been a form of leadership style that has maintained a great appeal. “Weber (1947) first described the concept of charismatic leadership as stemming from subordinates’ (or followers’) perceptions that the leader is endowed with exceptional skills or talents” (Barbuto, 2005). “Research of charismatic leadership has consistently found significant relationships with follower trust, effort, and commitment” (Howell & Frost, 1989; Lowe et al.,1996). Both transformational and charismatic leadership have a direct, emotive impact on the follower through emotion – persuasion based communications. Examples of charismatic leaders include, Jim Jones (leader of the Peoples Temple), Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Joan of Arc, Eleanor Roosevelt, and many more.

Transformational and charismatic leaders are known to attract many followers given their persuasion – emotion communications approach. In order to evoke emotion from an audience, the leader must keep a few things in mind.

  • Who is the audience?
  • What do they need/desire?
  • How will the leader benefit the audience?
  • What are the intentions of the leader?

The leader must persuade the audience of the change, revelation, experience, etc. cognitively, emotionally, and physically. Transactional leadership, on the other hand, is more about establishing a common set of guidelines, mutual agreements, goals with the followers and monitoring the progression. Transformational and charismatic leadership focuses on persuasion through tapping into emotive triggers. Both are beneficial forms of leadership that manage expectations. What a leader must keep in mind is who their followers are and what they need. In my next post, I will give examples of transactional, transformational, and charismatic leaders and the relationship they have with their followers.

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