Transformational and Transactional Leadership in Local Government

Throughout my internship this summer, I have been most interested in the leadership styles of the upper management positions in my office. One unique aspect of my internship which I believe applies directly to my Leadership 300 curriculum is Transformational vs. Transactional styles of leadership. While my research and classwork in this subject has taught me that in most instances, transformational leadership is a more holistically effective method of leadership, as it garners followers through the improvement and betterment of the followers’ lives, there are instances where transactional leadership can be as effective, if not more, than transformational leadership.

While it is unfair to generalize all of the leadership styles throughout the office I work in, and it is worth noting that different managers utilize different styles and I can only give my opinion of what type of leadership style they use based on sole my own perspective, I personally believe that transactional leadership is more prominent throughout my office than transformational leadership. Many policies and projects are performed simply because “they need to get done,” and I truly understand that the end of the day work simply does need to get done, but perhaps the projects can be presented in a way that inspires employees.

One example of a type of transformational leadership which I believe would be very effective is highlighting the idea of public service. Comptroller employees are dedicated to eliminating waste and saving tax payer money, and this admirable deed should be a sense of pride for employees. As I have previously mentioned, I greatly admire the work the Comptroller’s office is able to accomplish given the shortage of resources many employees are forced to work with, yet I believe many policy could be more closely followed and many unfortunate mistakes and overly elongated deadlines can be avoided by working towards a more transformational approach to leadership.

I personally believe that transformational leadership can serve to inspire employees to overcome certain obstacles and adversities they otherwise may not be able to, or willing to, overcome. Regardless of the field of work, increasing the amount of transformational leadership can almost always serve to allow employees to take more pride in their work and go the extra mile.