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Leadership Styles and Strategic Planning

Carol Marion Cook

May 1, 00

How can a leader suddenly share power to become collaborative in decision-making? Is there any substantive difference between a leader who practices authoritarian leadership and one who practices transformative leadership? The research shows an identifiable difference between authoritarian and transformative leadership. These differences center on the way leaders define and use power.

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Cryss Brunner (17) quoted power as the ability to get things done with other people. It is viewed as a process in which power holders possess certain motives and goals, having the capacity to secure changes in the behavior of a respondent, human or animal, and in the environment, by utilizing resources in their power base, including factors of skill, relative to the targets of their power-wielding and necessary to secure such changes (Burns,176). This view of power deals with a relationship among all of the following the motives and resources of power holders and the motives and resources of power recipients.

If power is viewed as one in which the power holders possess certain motives and resources, the relationship is transactional. These leaders approach followers to exchange one thing for another, contingent reinforcement. This leader is authoritarian and practices top-down leadership. The strategic plan is something he/she will construct and give to the employees. These employees will not know their mission statement or their exact job responsibilities because of this.

If the power holder does the later, looks for motives and resources of power recipients, he/she is a transforming leader. The transforming leader seeks to satisfy higher needs and engages the full person of the follower. This type of leader should engage their followers in the planning process if they want them to understand and make sense out of their job. After all, the strategic plan is a public declaration of the organization’s heart and soul. Followers are empowered who participate in the process. The motives and resources of the stakeholders should be acknowledged in the strategic plan, specifically noted in the mission statement. The result of this leadership style is a relationship of mutual stimulation and elevation that converts followers into leaders and may convert leaders into moral agents. These leaders have realized that power is the ability to work with other players for the good of all.

In order for transformational leadership to be “authentic” it must incorporate a central core of moral values. This leadership style is defined first, as the leaders and led have a relationship not only of power but of mutual needs, aspirations, and values; second as the followers have adequate knowledge of alternative leaders and programs and the capacity to choose among those alternatives; and third that leaders take responsibility for their commitments. These leaders can produce social change that will satisfy the followers’ authentic needs. These leaders have developed a relationship of elevation with the followers causing them to become more active. These followers will actively participate in the strategic planning process with enthusiasm, commitment and dedication.

The best of leadership is both transactional and transformational. Transformational leadership augments the effectiveness of transactional leadership it does not replace transactional leadership. (Waldman, Bass & Yammarino, 10). Both practices are complimentary. Transactional practices get the day-to-day routines carried out without stimulating improvement. However, transformational leadership provides the incentive for people to attempt improvements in their practices.


Burns, J.M. (178). Leadership. New York Harper & Row.

Cook, W.J. Ph.D. Strategic Planning. American Association of School Administrators.

Brunner, C.C. (17). The school administrator. Exercising. June.

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