Carrots That Inspire :Transformational Leadership in a Seemingly Transactional Setting

The nature of the daily work at AlphaSights is quite transactional; the progress of employees is measured in a credit system, essentially capturing the number of calls between clients and advisors set up each day.  Given that the value of the work of any given associate in any given month can essentially be reduced to a single number has implications for the kind of leadership that may be in place.  However, I have been lucky enough to experience a high level of transformational leadership during my time thus far at AlphaSights.

Transformational leadership, according to Jude and Piccolo, contains four dimensions.  Charisma, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration.  Despite the seemingly transactional nature of the job, my manager, in my eyes, is a transformational leader.  Although my manager checks all of these these components of transformational leadership, perhaps the most valuable aspect of transformational leadership I have received this summer is individualized consideration.  Individualized consideration, according to Jude and Piccolo, is “the degree to which the leader attends to each follower’s needs, acs as a mentor or coach to the follower, and listens to the follower’s concerns and needs” (Jude and Piccolo, 2004).  Individualized consideration is something that my manager has exhibited extremely well since I first hit the desk almost five weeks ago.

In addition to formalized, scheduled time set aside each week purely to discuss both my technical and developmental progress one-on-one with my manager, I am constantly receiving feedback on the desk daily.  Although feedback on the desk tends to be more transactional and somewhat proximate, it is often interspersed with more long-term feedback or even ultimate explanations, often stemming from my follow-up questions to him.  For example, understanding in a particular situation whether or not I need to receive compliance approval on a certain advisor often leads into a discussion on why, in general, a certain account may require more stringent guidelines than another.  Recognizing that this level of engagement with me consistently slows my manager’s progress has made me even more grateful for his level of dedication toward my own personal level of success and achievement.

Aside from giving me personal feedback, both formally and informally, my manager also takes the time to ask for my feedback.  In our most recent meeting he asked (not for the first time) if there were things he could do as my manager to make my experience overall more profitable and enjoyable.  I was able to tell him that I wanted more exposure to other parts of AlphaSights’ value proposition and services besides traditional phone consultations.  Despite his extremely busy schedule, he noted that he would do everything he could to give me exposure to these things before the end of my time at AlphaSights, even pausing to introduce me to one during our meeting.   Although I have experienced transformational leadership from a mentor/coach many times in my life,  I have experienced individualized consideration at this level only a few times before, and I am extremely grateful for it.  As the internship continues, I will only have one more week with my manager and team before rotating to another–and my next manager has big shoes to fill.


2 thoughts on “Carrots That Inspire :Transformational Leadership in a Seemingly Transactional Setting

  • July 17, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    It is absolutely wonderful to hear that your manager has worked to really make certain that this is a valuable learning experience for you thus far. But as I noted on your 7/5 ‘theory in action’ reflection – should you decide to dive into transformational leadership as your theory of choice for the fall paper, you’ll need to reflect on behaviors that illustrate the other three elements as well (charisma/idealized influence, intellectual stimulation, and inspirational motivation). It may be that you observe behaviors that illustrate (or not illustrate) these other elements working with people other than your manager, which would be fine – particularly if your contention is that transformational leadership is at play at large at AlphaSights (not just with your manager).

    • July 21, 2019 at 12:35 pm

      I actually initially wrote the reflection reflecting on how my manager exhibits the other three elements as well, but I was worried about it exceeding the word limit. Will definitely consider though for my final paper–thank you!

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