Is There a Magic Bullet for Optimal Leadership? Antiquity May Have the Answer….

Is There a Magic Bullet for Optimal Leadership? Antiquity May Have the Answer….
Is There a Magic Bullet for Optimal Leadership? Antiquity May Have the Answer….

For decades many leadership scholars suggested that Transformational Leadership was the magic bullet for Optimal Leadership. However, classical management theorists support the idea of Transactional Leadership as the best way to get what you want out of workers. Let’s explore the underpinnings of the two variegated views.

The subject of vigorous debate and the focus of continual research, Transformational Leadership sought to cause a metamorphosis in the very form and nature of followers. It suggested a change in the very condition or nature of a thing, a change into another substance, a radical change in outward form or inner character. Early researcher James McGregor Burns offered an excellent metaphor…that of a frog that is transformed into a prince or a carriage maker into an auto factory. 

By contrast, the theory of Transactional Leadership does not promote this type of change in the inner character, instead it appeals to the basest nature of humanity…self interests. In other words, you pay me and I will show up to work, if you do not pay me, all bets are off. This leaves nothing to the imagination when it comes to the idea of motivation. So I inquire of my readers, what example do we have for optimal leadership? I believe a great place to start is found in antiquity.  

Jesus Christ demonstrated Transactional Leadership in Matthew 16:17 when he ratifies the blessing upon the Apostle Peter after receiving the correct answer that indeed He is the Christ. The situation yielded an opportunity for the exchange of personal benefit to Peter, but also an affirmation of Jesus as the Christ.

Jesus demonstrated Transformational Leadership in John 4: 39-42 by changing the heart and mind of one woman; whereby she directed her energy and verbal testimony to transform the thoughts and beliefs of an entire town. Jesus masterfully wielded both types of variegated leadership styles to the benefit of his followers and the reinforcement of His vision for a preferred future. I would say that is Optimal Leadership in radical fashion….What are some examples of optimal leadership that you have experienced?

2 thoughts on “Is There a Magic Bullet for Optimal Leadership? Antiquity May Have the Answer….

  1. I love the illustration that you used of Jesus, because it is really applicable to many different situation. Because instead of going to either of the extremes, Jesus show us that often times (not all of the time) the right action or reaction is found in a “both and” approach to dealing with different situations. Dr King who said in his sermon titled Tough Mind and a Tender Heart said “The strong man is the man who can hold in a (Iivlng blend) strongly marked opposites.”

  2. Greetings Daren,

    Your wisdom shines through in your comments.

    Indeed, Jesus’ example is one that we should aspire to, because not every situation requires a response that is simplistic in it’s offering, but may need reflection and a measured response. Dr. King embodied this very thing through his stance related to non-violence and the subsequent long-term victories many minorties are enjoying today. Thank you for your comments and please keep them coming as we grow together in knowledge and more importantly …wisdom.

    Dr. J

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