Leadership: situational, motivational and transformational


The purpose of this paper is to examine organizational identification as an underlying mechanism for how perceptions of interpersonal leadership are related to employee engagement, and its relationship with commitment and job tension.


Organizational identification mediated the relationship between perceived interpersonal leadership and engagement. Interpersonal leadership characteristics can be developed, and are positively related to employees’ identification, commitment, and engagement, which are negatively related to job tension. Interpersonal leaders are positively associated with employees’ engagement; high engagement has been related to positive employee health and well-being. A healthy workforce translates into a healthy society.


This study is one of the few to examine the underlying mechanisms through which leadership relates to engagement.


Anne Hansen, Zinta Byrne, Christa Kiersch, (2014) "How interpersonal leadership relates to employee engagement", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 29 Issue: 8, pp.953-972, https://doi.org/10.1108/ JMP-11-2012-0343


Expert opinion Eline Ammeraal

It is very important to know how to motivate others. Not only in your private life you have to deal with non-motivated people, but also in the workplace there will be employees less committed than others. Instead of investing more time in taking over tasks of less motivated employees, invest more time in motivating them again. Motivational leadership is about inspiring others to improve task-performance.

Share goals

The first step in motivating others is inspiring them. Extrinsic incentives such as rewards may work in the short-term, but intrinsic motivation will last longer. Getting your employees or co-workers inspired can be a difficult task, especially if the job is high-demanding. Inspiring others can be achieved by sharing your own goals. What inspired you to do what you are doing? Why do you want this? What is the relevance of your goals? Ask your employees what their goals are and try to connect these goals with the goals of the company. Make your employees feel worthy and useful in achieving these goals by sharing, discussing and connecting them.

Read here more about autonomous motivation

'Transformational leaders motivate their employees by transforming their attitudes, beliefs, and values into a common vision (Bass, 1985). Though transformational leadership was originally delineated into four dimensions, lack of support (e.g. Bryman, 1992) led many to embrace the five dimensions proposed by Rafferty and Griffin (2004). These include: vision, the charismatic expression of a positive future; inspirational communication, confidence-building and encouraging messages about the organization; supportive leadership, concern for followers and their individual needs; intellectual stimulation, enhancing employees’ interest in organizational problems while increasing their ability to creatively problem solve; and personal recognition, which occurs when a leader shows individuals’ their efforts are valued, and rewards achievement consistent with the organizational vision.' – Source: How interpersonal leadership relates to employee engagement

Situational leadership

Obviously not all the employees are the same. Consequential, they need different types of motivation. Situational leadership aims at providing the right form of leadership for every individual employee. Young or unexperienced colleagues may need very detailed instructions, while the more experienced ones want more freedom or independence. Paying attention to these differences and giving your employees personal guidance can be very rewarding in the long-term.

'The task of the manager therefore, is to:

  1. Recognize the different leadership styles available in situational leadership theory
  2. Be bold enough to adjust your style appropriately to match the individual’s needs
  3. Learn from your mistakes and develop as a leader – Practice makes perfect.

If you can master becoming a flexible leader using the principles from situational leadership theory, then your team can develop and improve and so too your team(s) outputs and goals.' - Source: Eba 


- Source: YouTube  


Ask feedback

How do you assess the level of dependency of an employee? Ask feedback on your leadership and coaching. Be transparent and communicate face to face. Listen carefully to the feedback provided and take notes. Respect their feedback and dare to learn from your employees. Be thoughtful in which environment you’re in when asking or giving feedback. Your surroundings can have a huge impact on the interpretation of the words you speak. Asking feedback from employees in a work-setting about teamwork among colleagues, will most likely deliver answers more nuanced than when asked in a private atmosphere. Get together in a lunchroom for example. To get honest feedback, also engage in non-work related activities. Bonus: changing environments can boost creative thinking.


'One common theme in innovation literature purports that leaders need to be good communicators in order to enhance group effectiveness. As such, Mayfield and Mayfield (2004) determined that to improve group innovativeness, a leader must communicate by providing straightforward directions and enabling subordinates to understand cultural norms and expectations within the group. Much creativity happens in groups; while many individual and group-level factors affect creativity, a clear articulation of job tasks is essential for both individuals and groups (Woodman, Sawyer & Griffin, 1993). Leaders are also responsible to assist groups to establish transactive memory systems by communicating to members the knowledge and skills possessed by other group members (Gino et al., 2010) and by establishing an environment of trust that fosters knowledge sharing (Hu et al., 2009). Thus, we propose the more a leader is able to communicate and articulate meaning to his/her followers, the more innovative the group will be.' – Source: The impact of leadership on small business innovativeness

Transparent communication is key. Not only share your goals, also share your knowledge. Tell your co-workers what you know, how you know it and what they can do with this information. For example: giving your unexperienced employee a lot of detailed instructions can make you look like a bossy manager. Explaining why things have to be done in a certain manner and which struggles they may encounter, will give your employee the feeling you are in this together, instead of being a top-down leader. Invest in your employees to make them invest in their job.





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