An Introduction


Professionals often get confused while choosing between transformational leadership and transactional leadership. The massive impetus laid on leadership management by organizations and the amount of work that goes in building leaders who can take employees on board and work as a unit has led to an increase in the surge of hiring professionals who possess niche leadership qualities. With right knowledge and certifications such as XLRI postgraduate certificate in senior leadership, professionals can reassess and learn a great deal about current leadership types and work on improvement areas.


Transformational v/s Transactional Leadership – A Distinction


Leadership professionals deal with utilizing the strengths of its employees through techniques such as reflection, feedback, customized rewards to aim for the greater good of the organization. The leaders need to be trustworthy, develop great rapport with the employees and allow space for the employees to think innovatively to get the desired optimal output.


However, a fine line separates the two different sectors of leadership. Both transformational and transactional leadership deal with bettering their employees’ strengths and effectively pushing them out of their comfort zones to achieve remarkable results for the organization.

More often than not choosing amongst the two becomes a gigantic task. By enrolling in a credible XLRI Senior Leadership course the confusion can be diminished and professionals can get rewarded by a XLRI postgraduate certificate in senior leadership.


The professionals now need to understand the differences between the two sectors prior to enrollment.


Defining Transformational Leadership


Transformational leadership focuses on skyrocketing employee’s zeal, enthusiasm and motivation through engagement and tries to associate with the employee’s sense of self. This leadership follows the ideology of leading by example so the followers (employees) can garner those visions and values.


Transformational leadership is built around the motto of identifying employee’s weakness as well as strengths and enhancing their individual skills to increase the commitment towards completing organization’s objectives.


Professionals can learn in-depth about this leadership by enrolling for an explicit transformational leadership course run by XLRI and also get rewarded with transformational leadership certificate upon successful completion.


Defining Transactional Leadership


Transactional leadership focuses on agreement with pre-existing organization’s goals and objectives. The employees’ performance expectations are taken into consideration and monitored. The employees then get rewarded or punished on the basis of that performance.

Transactional leaders are task oriented and rely on employee’s output for assessment. They work around strict deadlines and time-bound constraints towards rounding up highly-specified projects. This leadership is outcome driven and adheres to status quo approach.


Transformational v/s Transactional Leadership – A Quick Glance


Here’s a list of summary in differences of task approach and reward system between the two leadership types:-


  • Transactional leadership follows a reactive approach to issues whereas transformational leadership deals with issues in their nascent stage.


  • Transactional leaders work within existing organizational culture, on the other hand transformational leaders emphasize innovation and tend to transform organizational culture, which professionals can join after receiving their transformational leadership certificate.


  • Transactional leaders follow a traditional approach to reward and punish their employees in compliance with organizational culture, on the contrary transformational leaders aim at achieving positive outcomes by keeping their employees invested with projects thereby leading to an internal reward system.


  • Transactional leaders are appealing towards self-interest of employees who are self-driven to seek rewards whereas, transformational leaders appeal to group interests.


  • Transactional leadership is closely related to management notions while transformational leadership can be casually referred to as leadership.


  • Transactional leadership is well-suited for a settled and a composed environment, on the contrary transformational leadership is well-suited for a turbulent environment.


  • Transactional leadership is procedural, on the other hand, transformational leadership is charismatic.


  • Transactional leadership has a solitary leader, as compared to transformational leadership has multiple leaders.


  • Transactional leadership is ideated towards planning and execution while transformational leadership has a promotion ideation.


These are the basic differences between transformational leadership and transactional leadership. Professionals can make out that both the leadership sectors differ on the basis of approach, employee’s inputs and organization’s interests. However; both these leadership sectors have a common aim of helping in the growth of organization. Professionals can also get an idea of how things work practically upon pursuing the XLRI postgraduate certificate in senior leadership.


Key Behaviours of Transactional Leaders


Transactional leaders aim to maintain compliance with existing organisation’s objectives. They act as external motivators using reward and punishment approaches to assess the employees.


Transactional leaders have the following behaviours:-


  • Help with providing well-documented guidance regarding what is expected from organizational employees and how the employees will be rewarded
  • Aim at providing constructive feedback to employees
  • Focus on increasing efficiency of traditional approaches and lay impetus on following pre-existing rules.
  • Reactive to variations from expected results and help identify correct actions to improve efficiency.


Key Behaviours of Transformational Leaders


Transformational leaders challenge the employees to think out-of-the-box solutions to pre-existing organizational issues, which professionals must abide by when working for a company upon receiving their transformational leadership certificate.


Transformational leaders have the following behaviors:-

  • Individualized stimulation that is imparted through a leader’s ability to train, mentor the employees and to stick with the employee’s aims.
  • Intellectual stimulation that is imparted through a leader’s ability to seek creative and dynamic solutions for organization’s issues. The leader treasures employee’s views and puts them in the organization’s plans.
  • Inspirational motivation that is imparted through a leader’s ability to communicate optimistically about future goals, provide a sense of meaning to the current tasks and linking employees with the organizational goal.
  • Idealized influence that is imparted through a leader’s ability to portray ethics that employees must abide by. It’s done by acting as a role model for the organization’s employees.




According to researchers and management scholars, transactional leadership is the best of the two while for others transformational leadership gets the nod. This debate is never-ending. However; professionals can gain an opportunity to inherit the traits of both leadership environments after securing their XLRI postgraduate certificate in senior leadership.


Professionals need to decipher what kind of leadership would suit their ideology. Some may opt for transformational leadership because of its moral ethos and coupled with their transformational leadership certificate can dive further into this type of leadership. For others, transactional leadership might be more appealing primarily due to its strict approach and relying on results instead of emotions.



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