Transformational Leaders Motivate Innovation

Organizational innovation is tied to organizational success and sustainability (Davila et al., 2012). Transformational leadership is directly related to performance, organizational commitment, innovation, and employee empowerment (Northouse, 2012).  The mistake some organizational leaders make is thinking that employees are driven primarily by monetary gains, but what is quickly found is that monetary gains may strong-arm employees into being participatory, but seldom does it lead to cutting edge change and innovation (Northouse, 2012). For transformational leaders, this is not a concerning reality to come to grips with.

Transformational leaders find themselves enjoying a high level of popularity among employees and followers because of the emphasis they place on intrinsic motivation and follower development, allowing employees to feel inspired and empowered to succeed when times are uncertain (Bass and Riggio, 2005). Transformational leaders motivate followers to do more by

  • raising the level of consciousness of followers’ appreciation of the importance of specified goals and ideas
  • getting followers to transcend their own self-interest for the sake of the team or organization
  • moving followers to address higher-level needs (Bass, 1985)

For this reason, followers of transformational leaders feel empowered, important to the process of organizational success, and benefactors of organizational success as contributors rather than just monetary receivers. This perspective is vital because the attitude employees bring to their place of work determines the potential for innovation, creativity, genius, and success (Michalko, 2010). When employees feel as though they are important and fulfilling a purpose beyond serving as a cog in a machine, they gladly embrace opportunities to be a part of innovative activities that have the potential to shape the success of the organization.


Bass, B. M. (1985). Leadership and Performance Beyond Expectations. New York : London: Free Press.

Bass, B. M., & Riggio, R. E. (2005). Transformational Leadership (2 edition). Mahwah, N.J: Psychology Press.

Davila, T., Epstein, M. J., & Shelton, R. D. (2013). Making innovation work: how to manage it, measure it, and profit from it (Updated ed). Upper Saddle River, N.J: FT Press.

Drucker, P. F. (2002). The Discipline of Innovation. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.