Lesson 3: Exercising Transformational Leadership

Lesson 3: Exercising Transformational Leadership

The style of the leader is very important in the development of successful health and safety workplace programs. Any serious attempt to keep workers safe and healthy is going to require the development of trust between employees and employers. This trust becomes even more important when attempting to develop workplace wellness programs where a great deal of personal data will be gathered from employees. The recent literature is strongly supportive of a transformational leadership style that uses the personal power of the leader to inspire people to adopt new ways. This style involves an understanding and compassion for the followers that is real.

Northouse (2007) argues that a transformational leadership style is a necessity for getting workers more motivated and involved in supporting the betterment of the company and the entire workforce rather than seeking only their own self – interest. The transformational leader works very hard to develop a supportive environment for listening to workers in an attempt to get them to self – actualize and become the best at what they do at work. The transformational leader also has a very clear vision of where he or she wants the organization to be in future years. It is certainly possible to include as part of this vision a workplace that is free of injuries and illness without the need of burdensome government regulation and fines for noncompliance.

Andr é (2008) points out that transformational leadership pushes followers to move beyond their personal self-interest to the good of the group or the organization. This trait is helpful in getting employees to work together to produce a safer and healthier workplace. The leader needs to realize that the improvement of health and safety is going to require continuous effort by every worker, not just the leader.

Modern organizations require inspiration from leaders in order to accomplish revolutionary
change (Nahavandi, 2009). It is certainly going to require revolutionary efforts to change our injury – and illness – prone workplaces into sources of wellness for all. The charismatic leader will need to form a bond with workers in order to improve the health and safety of all employees in the workplace. All employees of the company will have to buy into the vision of improvement espoused by the leader.

Northouse (2007) points out that transformational leadership uses the leader ’ s vision to give the followers a sense of identity with the organization. The followers are then capable of working together as a team to ensure the successful completion of the vision. Positive results achieved by this team are most often associated with strong team leadership, in which the leader constantly helps the team members to keep their focus on goal achievement. In other words, the leader requests each follower to form a partnership with other team members and to collaborate in realizing the vision of a safe and healthy workplace.

Safety and health issues in the workplace are so important that we need to have a way of uniting management and employees in the pursuit of this common goal. The style of the leader can be extremely important in bringing all the key players together in reaching the common goal of a safe and healthy workplace. These players include managers, employees, public health experts, and OSHA personnel. A transformational leadership style can help in bringing such a diverse group of individuals together to work on a common problem.


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