Leadership is multi-faceted and exposes one to organizational challenges and complexities (Bruce et al., 2019). Different leadership styles can be applied to lead an organization. Transformational leadership is associated with transforming the dynamics of an organization concerning staff, stakeholders, workflows, and other procedures (Bruce et al., 2019). Transformative leaders seek to align their thinking patterns with an organization’s operational methods, thereby devising methodologies that aid in achieving their vision (Grin et al., 2018). Transformative leaders are positive role models for their teams, creating the impression of idealized influence. These leaders inspire motivation around their vision. In service of this vision, they can coach and mentor their followers in a clear direction. Grin et al. (2018) argue that these leaders also prioritize innovation, creativity, and unconventional thinking in problem-solving. To ensure that change is not met with resistance, expectations need to be managed.
City Hall Employees
The success of an organization is reliant on the effectiveness of its leadership. A successful organization is built by capable employees that meet their performance standards (Caldwell et al., 2012). Employees require their employer to be considerate of their concerns and welfare. Employees also need to feel that their work is valued by management. Transformational leadership motivates and reassures in times of despair and distress (Caldwell et al., 2012).
As Mayor, there is a need to boost the motivation of the City Hall Staff. The previous administration failed to treat its employees well. The employees feel frustrated because of the gains lost during the tenure of the last administration, which also translates to feeling that their hard work has been undone. Transformational leadership focuses on developing and maintaining the performance quality of employees (Ncube, 2010). Employee motivation is dependent on employee growth and workplace development. Transformative leaders can inspire the audience through actions, speeches, and other practices that depict willingness to self-sacrifice for organizational change (Montuori & Donnelly, 2018). These leaders can align their values and principles with those of the organization and create an environment that spurs growth (Montuori & Donnelly, 2018). As Mayor, City Hall employees have far more experience in the operations of the City. They have served the City during the previous administration’s tenure and are knowledgeable on the cause of the problems currently being experienced. Therefore, they are a resource in the turnaround efforts of the new administration. Hence, their opinions should be welcome, and an open-door policy at the office of the Mayor is an effective strategy to encourage an idea of meritocracy in the operations of the City. Regular meetings with staff members are important as a forum for airing areas that require improvement. This resource, well-utilized, will improve the morale levels of employees and aid in better service delivery to citizens of the City.
Transformative leaders also facilitate innovative thinking (Montuori & Donnelly, 2018). These leaders inject innovation into an organization’s operations through planning with a focus on the big picture. An organization needs to understand the environment within which it seeks to implement policy actions to ensure that they consider all the factors determining its success. Change is constant in dynamic environments, and hence employees need to constantly align with changing realities to be effective in service delivery. Cities across the country compete for capital investment that translates to jobs for the local population. Policy decisions that do not consider the trends influencing capital decisions put the City at risk of falling behind in attracting investors.
Transformative leaders prepare their employees for challenges they will likely face shortly (Sondaite & Keidonaite, 2020). Preparation is the continuous practice of empowering core employees to cope with emerging issues which enables them to be self-reliant when they arise. It is important that all members of an organization self-introspect to ascertain the level of preparedness. Political influences are a reality for public organizations. Playing politics is part of the job as a Mayor. Politics mustn’t get in the way of service delivery. Despite the pressure that politics can place upon the holders of offices at City Hall, the core duties of holders of these offices must be well executed for the benefit of the citizens of the City. Therefore, preparations for the political dynamics that might hamper a successful tenure are critical.
Transformative leaders possess unrelenting determination and willpower in the face of challenges (Haron et al., 2020). These leaders can reflect these values on those that follow them. This ensures that followers have a role model for focus, determination, and commitment to the mission. A determined group can achieve milestones in the face of resistance because failure does not break the resolve to forge forward (Sondaite & Keidonaite, 2020). Transformative leaders create a culture of employees focused on objectives and determined to finish the assignment regardless of the challenges (Haron et al., 2020). Under the coaching of a transformative leader, such a workplace can channel the principles of strength, courage, perseverance, stamina, and endurance across the hierarchy. This determination will enable City Hall employees to make the gains needed to undo the deterioration experienced during the tenure of the previous administration. Aided by this determination, City Hall employees will be able to reclaim pride in their work, and their results will be evident for all to see.
Transformative leaders can keep things simple and panic-free (Sondaite & Keidonaite, 2020). Communication with employees requires simplified and concise to reduce the risk of misinterpretation. Each employee needs to know the desired result of their duties and tasks. There is no room for confusion and miscommunication while delivering messages to employees. A transformative leader seeks to avoid lapses and ensures they use understandable pathways in their communication (Haron et al., 2020). This contributes to positive work culture and teamwork. As Mayor, this is a priority initiative since City Hall employees feel they were side-lined by the previous administration. Clear communication lines will ensure that such frustrations are detected early, and redemptive measures will be undertaken to ensure that everyone is clear on the direction of the City under the new administration. As Mayor, I will ensure that the City’s leadership reflects my vision and political ideologies. Changes where applicable will be communicated in a manner that wins over the validation of City Hall staff. There is also a need to ensure continued motivation, encouragement, and a reward-based system for employees to create an environment that aids them in performing their duties.
A vision for the future guides transformative leaders. The leader’s vision needs to support broader goals to ensure it can withstand the resistance likely to be brought about by the implementation of changes. At the heart of turning around the City are its finances. Without resources for the performance of projects, the new administration is incapable of bringing much-needed change to the community. Transformative leaders seek the counsel of experts to ensure the policy actions implemented can solve the problems (Shields, 2011). The status quo of the City is unattractive. Budget deficits run during the previous administration leave the City’s financial status in a precarious state. The advice of financial experts on initiatives that can reverse the damage already incurred will enable the City to shorten the time frame required to solve the bankruptcy challenge and return the City to a favorable financial position. Work processes and workflows also need to be re-evaluated to identify areas of inefficiency. Correction of these areas provides the leadership team with target areas where improvement and streamlining are required (Shields, 2020). These changes are likely to face resistance from those comfortable with the status quo. Implementation will require diplomacy and pursuit of alignment to ensure that City Hall staff are on board with the strategic direction to restore the City’s glory. Members of the team who oppose the changes will be offered opportunities for early retirement with full benefits to avoid internal conflicts during implementation.
Lost faith in leadership by the community
Community members understand the pain points caused by the previous administration’s poor leadership. They know what works and what does not. Being a political officer, I answer to the community that elected me. Seeking out and listening to the insights and opinions of the community members provides valuable information on what truly needs fixing (Shields & Hesbol, 2020). Transformative leadership seeks first to solve the most pertinent challenges (Caldwell et al., 2012). Trust is built over time through integrity. Community support is required for policy actions such as tax increments to cover the budget deficits that were prevalent in the previous administration. Critical services such as safety have to be funded, and services such as healthcare are availed at affordable prices.
A thriving economy ensures that hard-working community members can meet their basic needs. Community support is more critical in comparison to media support. Poor leadership is reflected in poor service delivery to members of the community. Regardless of media coverage, the poor state of affairs is felt by community members. As such, media coverage is not a focus point for the administration. Service to the people is paramount. I will seek to meet with the leadership of the local media houses to look for an amicable solution to the standoff. The media plays an integral role in society. They provide awareness of the news around the City, which is a valuable service. Corruption of the media robs the community of an independent party free from bias. This role needs to be restored. The media should not be involved in covering up mismanagement. They ought to be at the forefront of exposing the misdeeds of those in power, ensuring they are accountable to the citizens that elected them into office. In the absence of an independent media, politicians are able to abuse power bestowed upon them in trust without fear of being put to the account. This state of affairs is partly to blame for the excesses experienced during the previous administration.
Pressure from the State of Pennsylvania
Political offices tend to attract pressure from different quarters. The State of Pennsylvania threatens to adopt the operations of the City and offer solutions to the challenges faced by the City. The state can assist in reorganizing the financial position of the City by providing the resources. As an elected official, it is a betrayal to the community to hand over power to the state. Local leadership is in touch with the challenges of the local population and can tailor solutions for the problems the City faces. The City is in need of economic restoration and rebuilding. Projects need to be reprioritized, and operations reimagined to aid recovery. As Mayor, there is a need to rebuild political capital by showing progress within a short duration of time while ensuring long-term resilience to avoid becoming a lame duck. Based on the campaign manifesto, the current administration under my leadership will lay out a concrete plan to fulfill the priorities and promises. This plan will provide a framework to ensure that risk-taking is well calculated and manageable (Shields, 2010). The project will also ensure that the administration’s priorities are clear, barriers to progress are well identified, and the priorities and goals are aligned with lasting impact. The new administration needs to learn from the previous administration’s failures and seek to avoid the pitfalls. This includes identifying the initiatives and partnerships that strengthen the City’s position. To reduce pressure from the State, my administration will seek to create a sustainable solution to the community’s needs related to security, access to healthcare, and economic recovery. We will implement flexible working hours for City Hall staff and seamless digital services for community members. The administration will also seek to balance budget limitations and new priorities with the long-term aspirations of the City. In a refreshed City, a sense of optimism and clear aspirations will provide the drive required to transform the City.
Transformative leaders are visionary and able to adapt to change in a dynamic environment. They can empower their followers in the direction of the vision without micromanaging. Uniting people around a shared vision and inspiring them to perform at their potential while trusting them to undertake their duties aids the success of an organization. The relentless pursuit of excellence ensures constant iteration and growth. The leadership of a public organization requires risk-taking within an innovative and strategic framework. Experimentation is critical when solving challenges that have not been solved before (Caldwell et al., 2012). Failure provides feedback incorporated into a strategy to ensure better results in the future. Flexibility, therefore, needs to be at the heart of operations in a political environment that is dynamic and fluid. Decisiveness is required to adopt new approaches where priorities shift, resources are limited, and teams have to undergo restructuring. Ambition drives the attainment of extraordinary results. Goal orientation develops talent within the organization providing a sense of purpose for the employees. Open-mindedness encourages employees to air their ideas and enhances collaboration with every team member focused on finding the best route for improvement. These are the characteristics that I will embody as Mayor to lead the City on a path of prosperity.
Bruce, J., McKee, K., Morgan-Fleming, J., & Warner, W. (2019). The Oaks Leadership Scholars Program: Transformative Leadership in Action. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 31(3), 536-546.
Caldwell, C., Dixon, R. D., Floyd, L. A., Chaudoin, J., Post, J., & Cheokas, G. (2012). Transformative leadership: Achieving unparalleled excellence. Journal of Business Ethics, 109(2), 175-187.
Grin, J., Hassink, J., Karadzic, V., & Moors, E. H. (2018). Transformative leadership and contextual change. Sustainability, 10(7), 2159.
Haron, M., Rela, I. Z., & Saad, S. (2020). Formation of civil servants’ creativity through transformative leadership. Journal of Management Development.
Montuori, A., & Donnelly, G. (2018). Transformative leadership. In Handbook of personal and organizational transformation (pp. 319-350). Springer, Cham.
Ncube, L. B. (2010). Ubuntu: A transformative leadership philosophy. Journal of Leadership Studies, 4(3), 77-82.
Shields, C. M. (2010). Transformative leadership: Working for equity in diverse contexts. Educational administration quarterly, 46(4), 558-589.
Shields, C. M. (2011). Transformative leadership: An introduction. Counterpoints, 1-17.
Shields, C. M. (2020). Transformative leadership. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education.
Shields, C. M., & Hesbol, K. A. (2020). Transformative leadership approaches inclusion, equity, and social justice. Journal of School Leadership, 30(1), 3-22.
Sondait, J., & Keidonait, G. (2020). Experience of transformative leadership: subordinates perspective. Business: Theory and Practice, 21(1), 373-378.
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