In transactional leadership, transactors try to get certain things in return for the work that they do. This form of transactional leadership is usually exercised by people who are not dedicated to their jobs but transact this way so they can move onto a better opportunity or workplace. These transactors focus more on what they are getting out of the organization versus looking at ways to make it a better place. They operate only as long as it benefits them. 

There is another type of transactional leader –the altruist transactor. These individuals believe that if you work hard and perform well in your job everyone will be rewarded with raises and promotions.

A transactional leader who believes in this form of transactional leadership will usually try to prove his or her worth to the organization. These transactors may lie about their accomplishments, especially if they have had a history of not being promoted based on merit. This transactional leader then becomes an unethical manipulator. 

Transcactional Leadership or alternative leadership style?

An example of transactional leadership is when an employee only works hard while her supervisor is looking and performs poorly otherwise because she does not want to look bad. Transactional leaders are people who forget that even though they may be getting paid for performing certain tasks for their job; there is also an ethical component involved with working for that company. By engaging in transactional leadership, transactors are starting to break the trust that existed between them and their bosses. However, transactional leadership is not always bad; it may be good at times. For example, transactional leadership can help a company get through layoffs with more success if transactors manage to keep workers on board until after the layoff has been announced.

Organizational scientists have also discovered that transactional leaders do not cope well when they become managers of people instead of tasks. They may think that this form of transactional leadership will help boost employee morale because it shows employees some sort of appreciation for their work. Transactional leaders expect transactors to be completely honest, but transactors cannot understand the transactional leader’s morality. Therefore, transactors may engage in unethical behavior or sabotage of their jobs.

Avoiding leadership conflict

The best way for transactional leaders to avoid transactors is by having a list of duties that they are expected to perform on a daily basis. This ensures that everyone is focused on getting tasks completed correctly instead of worrying about getting something extra out of the organization. If transactors think that there is no possibility of getting anything out of an organization, then that will remove them from the equation and reduce employee burnout and turnover; it benefits both transactors as well as transactional leaders to have this type of list. Some transactors may still not be able to keep their word on a daily basis, but transactional leaders must make sure that they are actually doing what is expected of them regardless if they get anything in return or not .

If transactional leaders want to prevent transactors from sabotaging the organization, transactors will have to be rewarded and recognized for their accomplishments. If they fail to do so, then more transactional leaders will need to recognize transactors’ achievements when no one else does. Transactors are usually very self-motivated individuals; transactional leadership can succeed only with this type of worker. Instead of viewing transactors as a threat, view them as members of the team who want to go above and beyond for the organization. This will prevent transactors from sabotaging transactional leaders’ plans.

Negative or Positive for your organization?

The transactional leadership model has both positive and negative features, but it is up to transactional leaders to decide how they want their organizations to work. Will transactors be able to gain something out of transactional leadership? Why or why not? How can transactional leaders succeed with transactors without corrupting the values of their organization? Transactional leaders need to accept that some people cannot handle a lot of freedom, which may lead them into making bad decisions while at work. Solve this issue by creating job descriptions for everyone on your staff so that all expectations are detailed; this will reduce transactional behavior.

Transactors can begin to sabotage transactional leaders’ plans because they feel that they are not being recognized for their good work with the organization. Therefore, transactors want to show transactional leaders that they do not care about them; transactors may even try to get fired from the organization so that they can go find another place of employment where transactional leadership is practiced. However, if all transactors are treated equally at work, then there would be no need for any revenge on them. Leaders should look out for transactors who are beginning to sabotage their plans, which may cause a lot of harm in the long run for the rest of management in the transactional leadership model.

It is best that transactors are supported through transactional leadership and their accomplishments be recognized. Any transactors who do not receive this kind of attention will probably look for a place where they can receive recognition; it does not necessarily have to come from transactional leaders, but just anyone from within the organization. The pros of transactional leadership greatly outweigh the cons, but transactional leaders need to be more discerning about what is happening with transactors in their organizations. As much as transactors like freedom in an organization, they still cannot take advantage of transactional leaders’ goodwill and every company must have rules and regulations. If a transactor fails to follow these rules or breaks them, then transactional leaders will need to take action.

The bottom line

Transactional leadership is one of the easiest forms for leaders to practice because transactors typically want more freedom over anything else. You can explore various leadership traits that can easily be implemented into your organization. Having transactors makes transactional leadership very easy, but transactional leaders should be aware that transactors can also make their lives miserable with sabotage behavior if they are not treated appropriately and fairly. Executives must create a list of how transactors should act while at work as well as what rules they must follow in order for them to feel like they are part of the organization instead of just existing within it. On top of all this, executives need to make sure that the values of the transactional leadership model are not compromised, which will prevent transactors from trying to sabotage transactional leaders’ plans.

If transactors feel that they are just being used by transactional leaders in their organizations, then they will rebel against any transactional plan or idea that transactional leaders try to implement. The main reason why transactors get into this type of behavior is because they do not feel appreciated for all the hard work they continue to do for the organization. In order to keep transactors from sabotaging transactional leaders’ plans, executives must make sure that everyone on staff is treated equally and fairly. Executives should also take a look at how employees are performing to see if some need more attention than others because transactors will see this and try to take advantage of the leaders’ goodwill.

Summary: Transactional leadership is one of the best forms a transactional leader can practice because transactors typically want freedom over anything else. In order for the employees to feel that transactional leadership is benefiting them, transactional leaders must make sure that everyone on staff is treated fairly and equally. Executives need to take action against employees who break any rules in place and should not give into transactional plans if they feel like they are not being appreciated properly. The pros greatly outweigh the cons of transactional leadership, but there are some cons that transactional leaders should be aware of. Even though transactors will act as if they don’t need anyone, transactional leaders, you still must show transactors some type of appreciation for their hard work; otherwise, transactors can rebel against transactional plans by sabotaging them.

About the Author Steve Dennis

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