How transformational leadership is different to transactional leadership

Getting the right leadership style implemented in your organisation is crucial when it comes to managing and enacting good health and safety, however not all leadership styles are created equally. Many leadership styles in health and safety of the past focused on transactional leadership, with a focus on procedure; yet in more recent years many academics have put forward the idea of transformational leadership, which focuses on enacting change at the employee level. Keep reading to discover more about the differences between the two leadership styles.

Transactional leadership comes from the top down

The traditional view of leadership is one of a transactional one. The focus is on employees following the procedure put forward by management and performing tasks under strict supervision. The top down approach often leads to a focus on processes and procedures as appose to the view of individual employees. Transactional leaders therefore try to increase efficiency of current work routines, but they can often lack a human perspective.

Anyone can be a transformational leadership

Transformational leadership differs from transactional as it is often a grass roots exercise.  A transformational leader will try to encourage employees at all levels of the orgnaisation to feel empowered to enact changes in their own routines. The result from this is often a situation where anyone can be exhibit qualities of transformational leadership.

Transactional leadership is good for time critical workplaces

Whilst transformational leadership is good for encourage better safety practices on a human level, in industries where strict time frames and rules are present transactional leadership is still important. A transactional leader often looks to introduce better standardized practices within an organisation; this can be good from both an efficiency and compliance perspective.

Transformational leaders encourage empowerment in employees

Another aspect of transformational leadership focuses on its ability to empower workers as appose to simply engaging them. Engagement in safety focuses on making sure there is high engagement in safety practices. Again, this is a good from a compliance point of view. However transformational leadership leads to workers feeling ‘empowered’ to enact safety changes. Employees working under this form of leadership will often feel comfortable questioning the status quo and working out how it can be improved.


Work out the right balance of leadership that your business needs

Whilst many are looking to completely replace transactional leadership with its transformational counterpart, like everything in business a balance is still needed for optimum performance. If your company needs to follow compliance, having transactional elements will be beneficial. Make sure you stay up to date with the latest information on the subject to keep the safety performance of your workplace high.