Theories In Action: Identifying Transactional and Transformational Leadership on the Job

Leadership at Asurest varied depending on the task at hand and their approach to how to best navigate a problem. In order to best describe this process I will reflect upon how this process of determining the best way to lead by comparing my experiences to transactional and transformational leadership theories. Firstly transactional leadership is leadership that is primarily concerned with day to day work, and how the standardized workplace environment can best maximize employee performance. Transactional leadership is about maximizing efficiency and productivity while maintaining the same approach as much as possible. I witnessed transactional leadership in my internship in multiple instances. Firstly my site supervisor displayed transactional leadership when he provided feedback and structure for the articles I was writing for the Asurest website. My site supervisor’s overview of my work reinforced a system where if I got my work completed on time, I was rewarded with positive feedback. This leadership style was effective when I had clear goals and projects to complete, such as writing an article, but not as effective for overall motivation.

For general motivation and encouragement, my site supervisor typically relied on transformational leadership tactics. When my internship at Asurest began, my site supervisor reached out to me to explain exactly what the mission of the company was. I was able to learn what the vision of Asurest was and how I could fit into that vision with the work I would do. Asurest targets their estate planning services to clients who have multiple jobs, children, or those who simply cannot afford the costs of large firms. By learning this vision, I felt motivated to work because I believe in that vision and believe that it benefits the Richmond community. I also felt connected to the rest of the site because they shared that vision as well. By sharing this vision with me, my site supervisor was a transformational leader in that he provided me the motivation that I needed to feel as though the work I was doing was genuinely making a difference not only at Asurest but also in the community at large. It was this combination of transactional and transformational leadership that created a work environment that was both effective and meaningful.