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Internal World of Transformational Leaders

Transformational and Charismatic Leadership: The Road Ahead 10th Anniversary Edition

ISBN: 978-1-78190-599-9, eISBN: 978-1-78190-600-2

Publication date: 27 June 2013


We know a great deal today about the impact of transformational leaders, their actions, typical behaviors and their ways of influencing others (Bass, 1985, 1999a, b; Bass & Avolio, 1990). However, we know relatively little about the psychological substructure, the internal world of these leaders, namely who they are and how they developed this way. These aspects were raised earlier in Bass’s early work (Bass, 1985) but have received little attention so far (Bass, 1998; Judge & Bono, 2000). We argue that the internal world of a transformational leader is characterized by a motivation to lead, leadership self-efficacy, motivation and capacity to relate to others in a pro-social way, optimism and openness to new experiences and viewpoints of others. We further argue that the origins of the ability and motivation to be a transformational leader lie in childhood experiences, and that the development of this ability and motivation can be understood and conceptualized by means of major developmental theories such as attachment theory (Bowlby, 1969, 1973, 1977, 1988). On the basis of these theories, we suggest a researchable conceptual framework for characterization of the internal world and the development of transformational leaders.


Popper, M. and Mayseless, O. (2013), "Internal World of Transformational Leaders", Transformational and Charismatic Leadership: The Road Ahead 10th Anniversary Edition (Monographs in Leadership and Management, Vol. 5), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 237-263.



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