According to Gary Yuk (2007) leadership as “the process of influencing others to understand and agree about what needs to be done and how to do it, and the process of facilitating individual and collective efforts to accomplish shared objectives”. Different people define leadership in different way but there are several components central to the phenomenon of leadership. For example: leadership is a process, it involves influencing others, it happens within the context of group, it involves goal attainment and these goals are shared by leaders and their followers.
The very act of defining leadership as a process suggests that leadership is not a characteristic or trait with which only a few, certain people are endowed with at birth. Defining leadership as process means that leadership is a transactional event that happens between leaders and followers. Viewing leadership as process means that leaders affect and are affected by their followers directly either positively or negatively. It shows that leadership is two-way, interactive event between leaders and followers rather than a linear, one-way event in which the leader only affects the followers.
India s the largest democratic country in the world. It has given some great leaders to the world like Mahatma Gandhi, J. L. Nehru, and Nadir Gandhi. But can you imagine a foreign woman can be the main leader of that country. It was not possible before but when Sonic Gandhi took over as the president of the Indian’s Congress Party in 1999 the whole scenario of the Indian politics changed. At that time, the Indian Congress Party was in deep water; its performance was going downward, the whole morale of the party was low. There was need of some kind of rejuvenation in the party to bring good old days.
Transformational leadership s an involved, complex process that binds leaders and followers together in the transformation or changing of followers, organizations or even the whole nations. It involves leaders interacting with followers with respect to their emotions, values, ethics, standards, and long term goals. Sonic Gandhi is a good example of transformational leadership. As she got the extraordinary ability to influence that had encourage the congress party and its followers to achieve something well above what was expected by themselves.
Short Biography Sonic Gandhi was born as Sonic Main on December 9, 1947, in the small village f Robinson, just outside Turin, Italy. Her parents Stefan and Paolo were from the working class and they raised her in traditional Roman Catholic household. While studying English at Cambridge in England she met Rajah Gandhi, they got married in 1968 and settled in India. Rajah Gandhi was the grandson of Sahara Ala Nehru who was the first prime minister of India.
When Rajah Gandhi was assassinated in 1991 she continued to stay away from the political life until 1998 when she campaigned for the faltering Congress party. It was in 2004 general election that her charisma and popularity gave the Congress party a surprise actors but she chose not to become the prime minister but continued to remain hold the position of leader of the Congress party till today. The Charisma of Sonic Gandhi “Charisma is special qualities of leader whose purposes, powers, and extraordinary determination differentiate them form others”.
The influence exercised by charismatic leaders comes from their personal power, not their position power. Their personal qualities help their personal power to transcend the influence they have from the position of power. According to House (1977) the charismatic leadership is that leadership that linked personality heartsickness to leader behaviors and through leader behavior, effects on followers. In India some social psychologists argue that the dramatic rise of Sonic in national politics as the work of the mass media.
But if people look closely, the media can only project a personality that instinctively appeals to people; it cannot manufacture such a personality and the charisma. The style adopted by Sonic Gandhi is more styled around building up the charisma. She is more of a visionary and sends inspirational messages those appeals to the ideological values and intellectual stimulation of her followers. These messages help her and her party in building up the self confidence which was lost during the sass. Before her taking over the post of president of the congress party, there was lot of rift among the party members.
But now she has transformed the whole culture in the organization, party members now view themselves as a collective identity which is helping her and the party to build a strong foundation for the future. Transformational Leadership Burns (1978) described leaders as people who could understand the motives of followers and therefore, be able to achieve the goals of followers and leaders. He noninsured leadership different from power as leadership is a concept that cannot be separated from the needs of followers. He also differentiated between transactional and transformational leadership.
He described transactional leadership as that which emphasizes between followers and leaders. And transformational leadership as that process through which leaders engage with followers and develop a connection that increases the morals and motivation of the follower and the leader. Sonic Gandhi is more of transformational leader due to the fact that she had been successful in inspiring the congress party workers o achieve more than expected by encouraging the fellow party workers to go beyond their self-interest to the interests of the party and the country.
Bernard Bass gave four interrelated components that he views as essential for leaders to move followers into the transformational style which are as follows: њ Idealized Influence Leaders with these factors are strong role models with whom followers want to identify and emulate. During the first few years of Sonic Gandhi as the president of the congress party, she traveled the whole country and start holding meeting tit the party workers, which help her to identify herself with the common workers of the party.
The other fact about this factor is that these kinds of leaders exhibit very high moral and ethical standards of conduct. During the general election in 2004 she took some drastic step to improve the corrupt image of the party which yield her good fruits by winning the election that year. Due to her bold moves she was able to develop a high level of trust and deep respects among the followers. D Inspirational Motivation When Sonic Gandhi took over the charge, nobody was expecting her to change he fortune of the party which as on downside.
But after a while (in year 2004) she was able to transform the whole party. During that election (2004) the whole party was in very high team spirit and every worker was working in the interest of the party not the self-interest. It was all due to the fact she was able to motivate the party to move in one direction. C] Intellectual Stimulation Leaders with this factor encourage subordinates to be innovative and creative. These leaders support followers as they challenge the deeply held beliefs and values of their leaders, their organizations, and themselves.
But look like this factor was missing from the Sonic Gandhi lists, as they are few steps which she took goes against the principal of transformational leadership. For example she did not choose the young leaders while reforming the party structure and her explanation was she was playing safe with going out with experienced campaigners. D Individualized Considerations Leaders with this factor are very supportive and take great care to listen to and understand their follower’s needs. They appropriately coach and give advice to their followers and help them to achieve self- actualization.
Regarding this factor here is nothing much to say about the style of Sonic Gandhi leadership as on only few occasion she is seen as supportive or taking care while listening to her party members, if she have been doing that than there would not be any split in the party. But since taking over the challenges of leadership of congress party, all the members who do not like her have already have deserted the party. So now there is no body to challenge her leadership style which is going to be a growing concern in the long run for the party.
Environment Every entity or organization that can be either political party or a business entity as a particular work environment, which dictates to a considerable degree how its leaders respond to problems and opportunities. This is brought about by its heritage of past leaders and its present leaders. When Sonic Gandhi took over, she inherited a glorious past which was based on the foundation made by her mother-in-law Indri Gandhi, Sahara Ala Nehru and other great leaders of the congress party.
And being from the Gandhi family everybody was expecting her to bring a new life to the party which was almost crawling on her feet since the dead of her husband Rajah Gandhi in the early sass. But she was only able o create her charm after almost six years, which was a pretty long time to the Indian standards. Characteristics of Transformational Leaders and Sonic Gandhi There are number of common characteristics that differentiate transformational leaders from others. 1 . They identify themselves as change agents: These leaders clearly identified themselves as change agents.
Their professional and personal image was to make a difference and transform the organization that they had assumed responsibility for. Sonic Gandhi is not a “professional turnaround leader”- someone who comes in, takes a mess, cleans it up, and leaves. But to the some extents she had tried hard to do that and she is somewhat successful in doing that but not to great length. 2. They are courageous individuals: Courage is not stupidity. These individuals or leaders are prudent risk takers, who take a firm stand and being able to take risks.
There is both an intellectual and an emotional component to courageous behavior. Intellectually, one must get a perspective, being able to confront reality even if it is painful. Emotionally, one must be able to then reveal the truth to others who may not want to hear it. When it comes to e courageous Sonic Gandhi is not a kind of leader who you can see taking drastic steps but she in one of them who generally stick to the usual safe path, this can seen in her inability to choose new sub-ordinates and leaders for the party, instead she opted for the experienced campaigners during the general election of 2004. . They believe in people: These transformational leaders are not dictators. They are powerful yet sensitive of other people, and ultimately they work towards the empowerment of others. Again this characteristic fit somewhere between the line as some of the steps taken by Sonic Gandhi shows err firms believe in her party workers while she showed little or no confidence in some situations. 4. They are visionaries: The transformational leaders were able to dream, able to translate those dreams and images so that other people could share them.
In this context Sonic Gandhi fits the criteria as she got the vision for both the party and the country. Due to which her popularity is increasing day by day. Approach to Transformational Leadership by Sonic Gandhi The transformational leaders pursue following step: First, they developed a party or organizational culture which was open to change by empowering braininess to change, encouraging transparency in related to change, and supporting them in trying innovative and different ways of achieving party goals.
It look like Sonic Gandhi had shown a kind of ignorance by she have not given much power to her subordinates which has sublime the effect of innovation in the party thinking. Second, they provide a strong example of moral values and ethical behavior that followers want to imitate because they have developed a trust and belief in these leaders and what they stand for. Coming to second step she has done a great job in building up the trust and setting up the high moral values. Conclusion There are difficult and rewarding challenges of leadership development in today’s complex and rapidly changing world.
Transforming an organization is a human drama that involves both joys and sorrows. Winning -beating the competition is exhilarating, but it is painful to lay off some fellow party workers for the sake of others. These phenomena are often part of a renewal, for what worked in the past may have become the cause of failure in the present. It also requires new vision, new frames for thinking about strategy, structure, and people. While some leaders can start with clean slate or paper, transformational traders must begin with what is already in place.
They are like architects who must redesign outmoded factories for a new use. The capacity for individual and organizational transformation must be accompanied by moral responsibility, for transformational leaders shape powerful social and institutional cultures which may either be liberating or oppressive.