Transformational Leadership Linked to Positive Effects on Well-Being

Transformational leaders inspire well-being
One study finds that transformational leadership contributes to greater well-being. / Digital Vision / Getty Images

Transformational leadership is a style that is often linked to positive group outcomes. What exactly is a transformational leader? These individuals are often described as inspiring, energetic, passionate, and enthusiastic. They focus on sharing their vision with the group and helping followers succeed. According to the results of one study, this style of leadership can also have a positive influence on employee well-being.

Study Suggests Transformational Leadership Linked to Well-Being

The study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, involved surveying workers as several different German information and communication technology companies. Researchers asked participants to answers questions about their employer's leadership style. A score for transformational leadership was then determined based on qualities such as providing intellectual stimulation, giving positive feedback for good performance, leading by example, and helping employees feel like they were making a contribution toward the goals of the group.

The researchers discovered that employees who identified a higher level of transformational leadership in their employers also had higher reported levels of well-being. The effect stayed significant even after researchers controlled for factors that are linked to well-being such as job strain, education, and age.

"The results of this study suggest that a transformational leadership style, which both conveys a sense of trust and meaningfulness and individually challenges and develops employees, also has a positive effect on employee well-being," the authors summarized.

Real-World Applications

So what impact could such results have for managers and workers?

The study's authors suggest that the results are important and can help companies develop leadership training programs that can be used to teach transformational leadership skills. Acquiring communication skills such as resolving conflicts in the workplace and recognizing the needs of employees are an important part of transformational leadership.

"Such training programs can be seen as another essential component of workplace health promotion and prevention efforts and therefore should receive wide support," explained the study's authors.

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Jacobs C; Pfaff H; Lehner B, et al. The influence of transformational leadership on employee well-being: results from a survey of companies in the information and communication technology sector in Germany. J Occup Environ Med. 2013;55(7):772-8. - See more at:

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