A Funny Keynote Speaker’s Take on Transformational Leadership

Steele Steadiman

James Burns introduced the concepts of transformational leadership. According to Burns, “Transformational leadership occurs when one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality.” Later, researcher Bernard M. Bass expanded upon Burns original ideas.  According to Bass, transformational leadership can be defined based on the impact that it has on followers. Transformational leaders, Bass suggested, garner trust, respect and admiration from their followers.  BALONEY!

As a funny keynote speaker based in Orlando, I know Transformers are unpredictable and dangerous.  Companies need the steady hand of a Strong Boss to navigate in these unstable times.  With transformers you never know what you’re going to get.  You may end up with a balloon dog rather than the Boss Warrior you need.

The Components of Transformational Leadership – Bass suggests there are four different components of transformational leadership.

  1. Intellectual Stimulation Intellectual Stimulation – According to Bass, “Transformational leaders not only challenge the status quo; they also encourage creativity among followers.” Creativity?!?  Didn’t I already say, “Creativity is dangerous!”  Employees who are intellectually stimulated keep thinking of ways to change things.  A Strong Boss swings the big club of fear to maintain the status quo and keep employees focused right down the middle of the fairway.  Work isn’t a game.  Underlings need to complete their work and not waste time looking for intellectual stimulation!
  2. Individualized Consideration Individualized Consideration – Bass believes, “Transformational leadership also involves offering support and encouragement to individual followers. In order to foster supportive relationships.” Transformers waste energy and time keeping lines of communication open.  A Strong Boss mows down any efforts at establishing relationships by keeping employees focused on doing their work. A transformers’ biggest mistake is believing employees feeling free to share ideas is a good thing.  I’ve said many times relationships are messy and have no place in the office.  Cut and bag relationships by never encouraging employees to share their silly ideas.  If you listen once they will expect you to listen the next time and the next.
  3. Inspirational Motivation Inspirational Motivation – Bass suggests, Transformational leaders are able to help followers experience passion and motivation.  If I want passion I’ll watch after hours HBO or Showtime.  The office and passion should never be clipped together.  It is certainly not the responsibility of a Boss to be inspirational.  Pinhead employees can visit their personal place of worship for inspiration – on their time off.  The bottom line is employees get a paycheck.  If that’s not enough motivation for them they need to go push paper clips somewhere else. Your employees will always stab you in the back if you try to “inspire” them.
  4. Idealized Influence Idealized Influence – Bass’ biggest misconception is: The transformational leader serves as a role model for followers. Because followers trust and respect the leader, they emulate the leader and internalize his or her ideals. A Strong Boss knows the quickest way to turn your career in to hamburger meat is to chase respect.  Trust and respect are transient.  One day it’s there and the next it’s gone.  Fear on the other hand is permanent.  Bosses don’t get chopped up worrying about what employees “feel” about them.  They keep the herd in place by creating an environment of fear and uncertainty.
  5. Be a Strong Boss

    Don’t be drawn in by every leadership fad that gains popularity with the masses.  A Boss knows what got him/her in to the position they hold and recognizes that change could disrupt the hierarchy.  My advice to all Boss wannabes is to ignore the research that Dr. Bass did and maintain the status quo.  The way to keep your authority is to:

    1. Crush intellectual stimulation.

    2.  Never give individualized consideration.  Avoid relationships.

    3.  It is not your job to be inspirational or motivational.

    4.  Forget about trust and respect.

    Steele Steadiman

    Steele Steadiman is the alter-ego of Rick Highsmith, a Funny Keynote Speaker in Orlando, Florida. Rick does keynote speaking and leadership training in cities all over the US, Canada, and Europe. To book him for your next convention or meeting, call us toll-free at 1-800-872-7830