Resilience-Building Leadership is inherently transformational. All leaders practice both transactional and transformational leadership to varying degrees. These two leadership concepts also apply to teams and organizations. Transformational leadership adds to the effectiveness of transactional leadership. The Resilience-Building Leadership Model operationalizes the concept of transformational leadership.

Bernard Bass at the State University of New York in Binghamton defined the two concepts as follows:

Transactional leadership refers to the exchange relationship between leader and follower to meet their own self-interests. It may take the form of contingent reward in which the leader clarifies for the follower through direction or participation what the follower needs to do to be rewarded for the effort. It may take the form of active management-by-exception, in which the leader monitors the follower’s performance and takes corrective action if the follower fails to meet standards. Or it may take the form of passive leadership, in which the leader practices passive managing-by-exception by waiting for problems to arise before taking corrective action or is laissez-faire and avoids taking any action”.

Transformational leadership refers to the leader moving the follower beyond immediate self-interests through idealized influence (charisma), inspiration, intellectual stimulation, or individualized consideration. It elevates the follower’s level of maturity and ideals as well as concerns for achievement, self-actualization, and the well-being of others, the organization, and society. Idealized influence and inspirational leadership are displayed when the leader envisions a desirable future, articulates how it can be reached, sets an example to be followed, sets high standards of performance, and shows determination and confidence. Followers want to identify with such leadership. Intellectual stimulation is displayed when the leader helps followers to become more innovative and creative. Individualized consideration is displayed when leaders pay attention to the developmental needs of followers and support and coach the development of their followers. The leaders delegate assignments as opportunities for growth”.

Bass, B. M. (1999). Two Decades of Research and Development in Transformational Leadership. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 8(1), 9–32.

Leaders that practice Resilience-Building Leadership are preparing people to deal with difficult or challenging situations at work. Research shows that leaders can make a difference in helping employees become more resilient.

Researchers with the University of Nebraska at Omaha asked 150 MBA students to, “Think of a time in the last two years when you experienced a difficult or challenging situation at work. For example, you may have had difficulty accomplishing a goal or learning a new skill, or you might have had a project that didn’t go as you desired, or you may have interviewed for a new position but did not get it – anything which you found to be a difficult or challenging situation”.

Next, they asked, “What helped you to deal with this situation?”. The students then completed scales that measured transformational and transactional leader behaviors as well as resilience and optimism.

Their study showed that participants who mentioned their leaders as being a positive factor in dealing with a difficult or challenging situation at work exhibited greater resilience than participants who did not. The study also showed that a variety of transformational leadership behaviors can positively impact subordinate resilience.

Reference: Harland, L., Harrison, W., Jones, J. R., & Reiter-Palmon, R. (2005). Leadership behaviors and subordinate resilience. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 11(2), 2–14.