27 February 2020
By: Jean-François Labre

Leadership: the Impact of Employee Attraction

Leadership is the starting point for increasing the level of employee engagement. However, while everyone is familiar with the concept, few are familiar with the various leadership styles. Research has identified two main leadership styles, transactional leadership and transformational leadership.

Transactional or Transformational Leadership
Transactional leadership, as the name suggests, is based on the principle of transactions between an organization and its employees. Concretely, if an employee meets or exceeds expectations, they will be rewarded and if they do not meet expectations, they will be penalized. The role of the transactional leader is then to organize work and manage performance by ensuring that objectives are met.
Conversely, transformational leadership relies on an individual’s influence and ability to motivate their followers to surpass themselves. To do so, such a leader communicates an inspiring vision, regulates the climate of their team and cares about their collaborators on an individual basis.
Transformational leaders act as mentors, recognizing that each individual is unique and supporting their employees to broaden their horizons. For example, they will guide them to develop new approaches to their problems, allowing them to become more autonomous and to evolve in their careers.
These leaders are convinced that a happy and fulfilled employee is productive, which is why they want to stimulate passion and give meaning to daily work.

Leadership in Practice
In practice, leaders can use both approaches. However, the balance between the approaches will be weighted according to their personality, preferred style, motivation, focus and environment.
A nomenclature that reflects this weighting can be established by considering the roles and competencies that leaders are expected to play and possess. These roles and competencies were schematized by Robert E. Quinn (1988) who, in a two-axis model, stipulates that leaders must position themselves between a focus on the organization’s internal versus external environment on the one hand, and flexibility versus control on the other.
As a result, leaders can be grouped into four main roles by type of leadership. Thus, the roles associated with the transactional style are those of evaluator, coordinator, director and producer. As for the transformational style, the roles are those of facilitator, mentor, innovator and broker.

Is there a Good and a Bad Leadership Style? The Environmental Impact on the Use of Leadership
The answer is, it depends.
Although the transactional style is of limited effectiveness, it may be appropriate in certain environments, such as when the level of maturity of subordinates is low. Conversely, in an environment that requires innovation, skills renewal and independent thinking, transformational leadership will enable organizations to achieve superior performance from their members and ultimately, to stand out both in the eyes of their clients and in the eyes of their competitors.

Jean-François Labre
Jean-François Labre

Consultant, Talent Management