I read Professor Graham Dickson’s article on assessing leadership capability with great interest. Indeed, defining and assessing desirable leadership qualities for leaders and managers is a very complex task for a variety of reasons as outlined by Professor Dickson. I’d like to add that current RACMA model of CANMEDS based competencies is somewhat deficient in terms of its understanding of ‘true’ leadership. Burns (1978) defines such leadership as inducing followers to pursue common or at least joint purposes that represent the values and motivations of both leaders and followers. He also distinguishes between two types of leadership—transactional leadership, and transforming leadership. Transactional leadership involves an exchange of benefits and is based on current values and motivations of both leaders and followers. Transformational leadership on the other hand, does not take the current values and motivations to be fixed, but rather seeks to change them.
Bass (1985) found that transformational leadership consisted of three factors—charismatic leadership, intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration. He notes charisma to be the most important component in the larger concept of transformational leadership and inspirational leadership to be a sub-factor of charismatic leadership. Intellectual stimulation arouses in followers the awareness of problems and how they may be solved and stirs the imagination and generates thoughts and insights. Individualized consideration involves giving personal attention to followers who seem neglected, treating each follower individually, and helping each follower get what he or she wants. On the other hand, Bass found that transactional leadership consisted of two distinct factors—contingent reward and management-by-exception. Contingent reward refers to rewarding subordinates for their effort, support and doing what needs to be done. Management-by-exception refers to taking corrective action only when subordinates deviate from expectations or fail to meet goals.
Furthermore, a Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) was developed to measure the factors in transactional and transformational leadership (Bass, 1985). Several studies (Bycio et al., 1995; Hater & Bass, 1988; Howell & Avolio, 1993; Keller, 1992) have revealed high validity for the MLQ. The relationship of high transformational leadership scores on MLQ with effective leadership was found to be significant across many organisational settings (Bass, 1990, 98, Bass & Avolio 1994).
The importance of transformational leadership requires recognition within College’s curriculum and the college should aspire to develop transformational medical leaders as opposed to medical managers.
Dr Anand Choudhary
1 Bass, B.M. (1985). Leadership and performance beyond expectations. New York: Free Press.
2Bass, B. M. (1998). Transformational leadership: Industrial, military and educational impact. Mahway, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
3Bass, B. M. & Avolio, B. J. (1994). Improving organizational effectiveness through transformational leadership. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
4Burns, J.M. (1978). Leadership. New York: Harper & Row.
5Bycio, P., Hackett, R.D., & Allen, J.S. (1995). Further assessments of Bass’s (1985) Conceptualization of transactional and transformational leadership. Journal of Applied Psychology, 80(4): 468-478.
6Hater, J.J., & Bass, B.M. (1988), Superiors’ evaluations and subordinates’ perceptions of transformational and transactional leadership. Journal of Applied Psychology, 73: 695-702.
7Howell, J.M, & Avolio, B.J. (1993). Transformational leadership, transactional leadership, locus of control, and support for innovation: Key predictors of consolidated-business-unit performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 78(6):891-902.
8Keller, R.T. (1992). Transformational leadership and the performance of research and development project groups. Journal of Management, 18(3): 489-501.
The Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators
Dr Anand Choudhary, , p682