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Transformational vs. Authentic Leadership

Transformational vs. Authentic Leadership Joni Dougherty
Transformational vs. Authentic Leadership

Transformational vs. Authentic Leadership

Leadership is at the heart of any management aspect. An organization may have well-set, clear, and measurable goals that it wants to achieve, but without effective leadership in the management, it will be a nightmare for the firm to realize these goals. It is worth noting that being a manager doesn't mean that one is a leader. Positions don't denote leadership, which is a mistake that most managers make, thinking their employees will have to automatically follow their commands because they are in such a position. As effective leaders, managers have to positively influence their employees to be motivated to achieve organizational goals. Leadership takes different models, which can be either transformation or authentic. It is based on the needs of the employees that the manager will decide on what form of leadership model they will have to employ. The essay examines the differences and similarities between the authentic and transformational leadership styles.

Defining terms

Transformational leadership is a leadership approach centred on transforming the employee's values by motivating them to achieve their performance outputs beyond their limits or normal expectations (Hall). Transformational leaders inspire the subjects to be leaders themselves through influencing them ideologically, intellectual stimulation, inspirational and individualized motivation. Authentic leadership refers to a leadership approach whereby the leader influences employees through transparency and promoting both a positive ethical climate and psychological transparency and henceforth fosters internalized moral perspective, self-awareness, and balanced information processing and relational transparency among the employees. An authentic leader inspires the employees through authentic relationships that foster motivation and trust.


A significant similarity between transformational and authentic leadership is that both approaches aim to motivate the employees by serving as role models. Transformational leaders instil the change they want in the employees by acting as their role models and ensuring a high display of moral conduct since they want them to be leaders themselves (Malloy 636). Similarly, authentic leaders assume the role model role by being transparent to their subjects and showing them their true selves so that their moral behaviours align with the values they want to instil in the employees.

Another similarity between authentic and transformational leaders is that they ensure supportive environments for their employees and give them priority. Both transformational and authentic leaders prioritize their employees because their major concern is their development. Subsequently, they want to impact them in the best positive way to ensure their development. For instance, transformational leaders have to ensure that the employees have clear expectations of what they have to accomplish, provide their meaning, and then the need to demonstrate confidence in achieving the given tasks. Transformational leaders consider each individual, inspire them to be motivated and stimulate their performance. Similarly, authentic leaders impact their employees positively by helping them develop self-awareness to understand their strengths and weaknesses, which in turn modify their behaviours to inherit the values that the leaders instil in them.

Another similarity between authentic and transformational leadership is that both approaches can be used to ensure better outcomes for the individual employees and the organization since the two approaches have a high convergent ability degree. The authentic qualities can also be instilled in transformational leadership in ensuring the employees end up being leaders in executing their job tasks but now, with the ability to ensure they maintain a good relationship with one another, they have developed self-awareness and can adhere to the working, ethical codes. Both the two leadership approaches will also ensure better outcomes to the respective outcomes and will ensure employee development.


Meanwhile, transformation and authentic leadership approaches differ from each other. A significant difference between authentic and transformational leadership is that authentic leadership centrally focuses on instilling some sense of self in the employees. On the contrary, transformational leadership aims to transform employees into leaders.

Authentic leadership aims to ensure that the employees understand their weaknesses and strengths and acquire ethical values such as honesty and transparency, which would henceforth ensure a conducive working relationship (Yavuz 122). On the contrary, transformational leadership stimulates creativity and paints powerful visions among the employees within an organization.

Also, authentic leadership differs from transformational leadership as it may not necessarily be inspirational and charismatic. The authentic relationship is aimed at ensuring authenticity towards the employees regardless of their leadership skills. On the contrary, as much transformational leadership aims to stimulate the employees towards performance.

Authentic leadership is good in enhancing durable employee relationships and instilling important values into them, which reflect the values portrayed by the leader (Novitasari 1). Transformation leadership, on the contrary, plays a significant role in ensuring that powerful visions drive the employees. Transformational leaders are inspirational and charismatic, and with this, they stimulate the employees towards performance and creativity.

Also, the authentic leadership components include self-awareness, relational transparency, and balanced processing. All these mentioned qualities are aimed at building authenticity among the subjects and enhancing a good working relationship among the employees. As a result, the authenticity form of leadership will work where the management feels that the organization needs to foster a conducive working environment to enhance goal realization (Izza-White 356). On the contrary, the components of transformation leadership include idealized influence, individual consideration, intellectual stimulation, and inspirational management. A combination of the mentioned leadership component will ensure employees who are leaders and improve labor productivity, which will promote organizational performance.


Leadership plays a significant role in management practices, and for organizations to achieve their organizational goals, effective leadership must be integrated. Organizations are subject to disruptive changes; therefore, with effective leadership approaches, the employee will be flexible in adapting to these changes and ensure that the organization meets its goals. Two ideal leadership models include transformational and authentic leadership. Transformation leadership will be effective whereby the organization wants to transform the employees into leaders while inspiring and stimulating them to work towards achieving the organizational goals. Authentic leadership ensures a conducive employee working relationship through increasing self-awareness. Both authentic and transformational leadership are similar in that they focus on developing the employees and hence prioritize them. Transformational leadership differs from authentic leadership; it is centered on transforming the employees into leaders, while the main focus of authentic leadership is to enhance the employee's authentic self through increasing their self-awareness.

Work Cited.

Hall, John, et al. "Transformational Leadership: The Transformation of Managers and Associates: HR020/HR020, 7/2002." EDIS 2002.2 (2002).

Malloy, Ella, and Maria Kavussanu. "A comparison of authentic and transformational leadership in sport." Journal of Applied Social Psychology 51.7 (2021): 636-646.

Matt‐White, Marian, and Steve Kempster. "Authentic leadership: Getting back to the roots of the 'root construct'?." International Journal of Management Reviews 21.3 (2019): 356-369.

Novitasari, Diana, et al. "Authentic Leadership and Innovation: What is the Role of Psychological Capital?." International Journal of Social and Management Studies 1.1 (2020): 1-21.

Yavuz, Meltem. "Transformational leadership and authentic leadership as practical implications of positive organizational psychology." Handbook of research on positive organizational behavior for improved workplace performance. IGI Global, 2020. 122-139.

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