Leadership is defined by Kruse (2013) as “a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal” (para. 6). Because of differing traits of leaders they fall under different leadership theories based on the strategies used to lead and influence. Out of those many theories comes transactional and transformational leadership, these two theories are like opposites because each is focused on two different strategies to lead.
The transactional leader is focused on the day to day operations (Marquis & Huston, 2012, pp.41) this means that the transactional leader is task oriented and uses strategies that will influence staff to get daily tasks accomplished. Ruggieri & Abbate (2013) states that “The aim of rewards and punishments is not to transform the followers but to ensure that the expected results are achieved” (pp. 1172). Transactional leaders just want to get tasks completed and will do what it takes to ensure that their staff accomplish those tasks. The idea behind transactional leadership is to reward when the job gets done and to intervene when there is lack of performance.
On the other hand a transformational leader is “… committed, has a vision, and is able to empower others with this vision” (Marquis et al, 2013, pp.41). Rather than just focusing on the task to be completed the transformational leader empowers her team and by empowering them and rather than dictating and controlling uses mediation. According to Ruggieri et al, (2013) The transformational leader creates a new trend of thought influenced by common goals and secures cooperation by making others see beyond their own self-interest (pp. 1172). The idea behind transformational leadership is to model the change they want to see by being actively involved in the solution.
It is elective surgery day on the surgical unit; the 20 bed unit has 10 in patients and 10 empty beds to accommodate the admissions for surgery. The surgeons usually schedule clients and the unit admits based on their availability of beds. All patients are same day cases but their recovery time differs depending on the client. On elective surgery day the unit is usually very busy with pre-operative care added to the normal day to day tasks of the unit. The unit is usually staffed with four registered nurses and four nursing assistants. The nurses and nursing assistants usually do not get an opportunity to take a break because of the busy unit.
The transactional leader
Manager #1 walks into the unit ensures that all nurses and nursing assistants made it to work and checks the surgery lists and heads to her office. At the end of the shift manager #1 returns and is satisfied that all clients were able to have their surgeries. Because of another successful surgery day manager # 1 congratulates her staff and places them on the unit’s “achievers for the week” recognition poster.
The transformational leader
Manager #2 walks into the unit and decides to assist her nurses because of their heavy workload. She negotiates with a manager from another unit and gets two other staff to help out on the unit. Manager #2 recognizes that her staff needs to be increased on surgery days so she obtains the nurses view on obtaining more staff. Manager #2 also holds on for her nurse as they take a break which otherwise they would not be able to take.
In this situation the transactional leadership style will lead to burn out and staff dissatisfaction and staff not feeling very motivated. The aspect of the “achievers of the week recognition” is there but that comes after running a