Are You a Transactional or Transformational Leader?

by Alex Charfen
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Do you know which type of leader you are?

I believe there are two different types, transactional and transformational. 

If you don't know yet – that's okay. We're going to dive into each in a bit, and you can be the judge. 

It can be hard to identify which type of leader you are without knowing what each style entails. It can also be hard to decide which method will work best for your business. 

Even the top executives in the world have debates about how to lead effectively. 

One of the biggest questions I get asked around this topic is – How do you know if you're a transactional or transformational leader?

Let's preview each and see…

Transactional Leadership

Many people think of being a leader in a transactional sense. Transactional leaders juggle a lot of responsibilities at once. As a result, they can be distant. It's not uncommon for them to struggle with focusing on the project at hand. 

Because transactional leaders take all the responsibilities on themselves, they have to delegate every single task within their control. This makes every discussion they have with team members a one-way conversation. Here's an example – “Here's what you need to do and how I need you to do it for me.” 

When these are the only communications, the leader has to constantly be on the lookout for what their team is or isn't doing. If you've ever heard of micromanagement, that's a prime example. In this style, the leader is focusing on their activities rather than their outcomes. Other than burning up time and energy, the biggest problem with this approach is that it limits the growth of their team. 

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leaders focus on the personal development of their teams. They consistently ask what they can do for their team, rather than what their team can do for them. These types of leaders also trust their team to own important parts of the business. Doing this not only empowers them, but it makes it so the leader doesn't have to juggle too many things at once. This approach allows the leader to focus on what they're good at, gives them the ability to stay present, and be in the moment.

Transformational leaders also value transparency. When they need support, they're quick to communicate this to the team so that everyone can share responsibility for the outcome. This means that the conversations they have with their team members are two-way – “Here's what needs to be done; how do we do it?” 


The leader is actively involved with ensuring their team has the resources to accomplish what they need to get done. They understand that it's their job to make sure their team has the support they need and that by growing the people around them, they can create results they couldn't have accomplished on their own.

So now that you know the difference between the two, which one do you resonate most with? 

Are you are a transactional or transformational leader? 

If it seems like you're more of a transactional leader, you may want to consider stepping into transformational leadership. In my experience, businesses with transformational leaders have loyal teams and grow much quicker than companies with transactional leaders. 

P.S. If you would like to learn more about concepts like this, make sure to check out my Momentum Podcast!    

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