the ceo magazine, leadership,
Mostafa Sayyadi, Author, Transformational Leadership: How To Prosper as a Leader In Today's Hypercompetitive Environment

The world is constantly changing as professionals and consultants are increasingly participating in world-class settings. Hypercompetition has become the norm. Change is also a crucial part of hypercompetitive environments. Organizations can design, copy, or update products and services easier with more adaptability then ever today. CEOs should, therefore, compete globally but must think locally if they expect to exceed.

These new and improved globalized markets place demands on the roles of CEOs in leading people in this modern environment. In Kock and Slabbert‘s view, the emergence of global business environments drives CEOs to effectively lead people in a world-class setting. They argue that CEOs and business leaders can play a crucial role in achieving a high level of effectiveness and world class efficiency.  

In this article, I place a new emphasis on transformational leadership, not only because of the transformative nature of the model, but also, because of its ease of implementation by managers at all levels of the organizations. Transformational leadership is an ideal leadership form in enabling people to build effective relationships that can create and implement innovations timely as they perform in a world-class setting.

The early 1980’s has been earmarked by dissatisfactions from previous leadership theories, which have mostly manifested themselves in a dichotomy of people-oriented versus task-oriented manner. Subsequently, a new shift occurred in the leadership studies whereby the paradigm of leadership was placed in the path of emerging theory of transformational leadership. Indeed, leadership at highest level of its evolution (transformational leadership) has actually come back to the concept of great man associated with trait theory. There is a substantial difference between this concept in transformational leadership and trait theory. The researchers associated with trait theory, such as Kirkpatrick and Locke, believed that a great man has been “born, not made”. In contrast, Burns has determined four dimensions of transformational leadership, and formulated how to be a great man at the topmost levels of organizations.

Transformational leaders display charismatic behaviors and inspire people to achieve better outcomes. These leaders inspire people to generate new solutions and a better environment. Accordingly, the primary concern of transformational leadership is to effectively lead professionals in order to create major changes at the organizational level, and subsequently highlights leadership as a process of influencing major changes in the attitudes and assumptions of people (organization culture) and building commitment for major changes in the organization’s objectives and strategies.

These leaders emphasize the critical role of people’s values and attitudes in achieving business objectives, and shed light on the strategic role of human assets in contributing to effectively implement organizational changes. Transformational leaders in fact maintain an alignment between individual interests and business objectives. An effective change at the organizational level is parallel to the development of relationships between leaders and people. It is believed that transformational leaders firstly foster subordinates and then moves them beyond self-interests by linking the individual-interests to the collective-interests in the firm.

In conclusion, aspiring managers and future CEOs can act as change agents and provide a more humanistic and applicable approach to effectively managing businesses. Leaders and CEOs that incorporate four dimensions of transformational leadership can enhance global prosperity in our hypercompetitive business environment that exists today.


Burns, JM 1978, Leadership, Harper & Row, New York.

Kirkpatrick, SA & Locke EA 1991 'Leadership: Do traits matter?' Academy of Management Executive, vol. 5, pp. 48-60.

Kock, PD & Slabbert, JA 2003' SA Journal of Industrial Psychology, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 1-7


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