Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Transformational leadership is my twin.

Written by: on March 17, 2023


I must admit being a leadership junkie, whether junkie is a good term or not, the truth is wherever I hear anything about Leadership, especially servant or transformational leadership, my head will turn and move in that direction. The passion for leadership, in my case, didn’t come easy or from desirable circumstances, but I am stuck with the passion, nevertheless. Looking this the work of Northouse, I can agree with Caredda this book is indeed the Bible of Leadership. Or at least one of the major chapters in the “leadership Bible.”

The Definition of Leadership

By this time, I would think defining leadership comes easy; like seen in here book, it is not that easy to find the definition of leadership that all of us will agree on. My mentor and friend, commonly known as “Papa John,” defines Leadership as “Leadership is influence, nothing more nothing less”[1] The fact as this book suggests, every one of us might have our own way of defining what leadership is “It is much like the word’s democracy, love, and peace. Although each of us intuitively knows what we mean by such words, the words can have different meanings for different people.”[2]

Reasons for appreciation

The book is a rich field of leadership resources that has taken him several years to build, and the way he has done has earned him great honors among the few revered authorities in leadership. The book is written is such a way that it has become attractive and “adopted at more than 800 colleges and universities worldwide the market-leading text owes its success to the unique way in which it combines an academically robust account of the major theories and models of leadership with an accessible style and practical exercises that help students apply what they learn.” [3]

The 7th Edition is the one I found to read but the book has been published in in several editions and is widely available across the worldwide web for everyone to read.

Who is Northhouse anyway?

The author is Professor Emeritus of Communication in the School of Communication at Western Michigan University. This work now has over 25 years of history and has now landed in its 8th edition.[4] The author’s scholar and curricular interests include models of leadership, leadership assessment, ethical leadership, and leadership and group dynamic. For more than 30 years, he has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in leadership, interpersonal communication, and organizational communication on both undergraduate and graduate levels.[5]

 My two top  models

Like someone finding in a field of great treasures to pick only a few items, there is a challenge in picking and choosing what to take home from such a rich leadership resource.

Transformational Leadership

Chapters 8 and 10 of this 7th edition brought one of my best leadership models to life. The first is of the two that I have chosen to focus on is transformational Leadership: As its name implies, transformational leadership is a process that changes and transforms people. It is concerned with emotions, values, ethics, standards, and long-term goals, the term transformational leadership was first coined by Downton (1973).[6] This is not only my best model of leadership, but it was born the same time of my birth, which makes Transformational leadership my twin sibling. There is nothing that would fill me with joy as contributing even one little thing towards making another person’s life better.

The author did clarify something interesting by differentiating real authentic transformational leaders and the charismatic leaders who rule others due to their own selfish, power-hungry egos. He calls it pseudo transformational leadership. pseudo transformational Leadership. Because the conceptualization of transformational leadership set forth by Burns (1978) includes raising the level of morality in others, it is difficult to use this term when describing leaders such as Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein, who were transforming but in a negative way.[7]

Servant Leadership

The second model is that of Servant Leadership that I am equally passionate about.  Servant leadership emphasizes that leaders be attentive to the concerns of their followers, empathize with them, and nurture them. Servant leaders put followers first, empower them, and help them develop their full personal capacities.[8] I have always seen our Lord Jesus as the architect of servant leadership, even thought the author attributes the term to Greenleaf Robert K. Greenleaf coined the term servant leadership and is the author of the seminal works on the subject. Greenleaf ’s persona and writings have significantly influenced how servant leadership has developed on the practical and theoretical level. [9], I must say Greenleaf did take it from Jesus.



[1] Maxwell John’s leadership definition

[2] Peter G. Northouse, Leadership: Theory and Practice, Seventh Edition. (Los Angeles: SAGE Publications, Inc, 2015).

[3] Gupton Carlos, “Lifeandleadership.com summary” (Northouse, Leadership Theory and Practice)

[4] Sergio Caredda, “Leadership review”: Theory and Practice” by Peter G. Northhouse review of Leadership and theory practice by Peter G. North house.

[5] Northhouse, Peter, Leadership Theory and practice, 7th edition. Sage Publications, 2016.

[6] Northouse, Leadership., 162

[7] Ibid., 163

[8] Ibid., 225

[9] Ibid., 226 – 227

About the Author


Jean de Dieu Ndahiriwe

Jean de Dieu Ndahiriwe is a Clinical Correctional Chaplain and former Child Refugee from War-torn Rwanda. A member of the Maxwell Leadership Certified Team, Jean is passionate about Servant Leadership and looks forward to seeing more leaders that inspire Lasting Peace and Justice for all, especially "the least of these".

10 responses to “Transformational leadership is my twin.”

  1. mm David Beavis says:

    Hey Jean,

    As I was reading Northouse’s definition of leadership, I thought to myself “I wonder what Jean would say about this” knowing that you have learned under Maxwell.

    In all the content you have received from John Maxwell, what is the leadership theory found in Northouse that you would say he most aligns with?

    • David,
      Thanks for the question. I asked a similar question Who has been learning from the other, between the two! Maxwell and Northhouse both speak of Leadership as an influence. The Maxwell Leadership is definitely servant leadership. (Values-based, People-centric, modeling servant leadership).

  2. Jenny Steinbrenner Hale says:

    Jean, Thank you so much for your post! It is so interesting reading which leadership styles appeal to the people in our cohort! It’s fun to understand people a little more deeply. I especially like your line at the end regarding servant leadership: “I must say Greenleaf did take it from Jesus.” Thank you, Jean!

  3. Kristy Newport says:

    Apart from John Maxwell
    Who have been leaders who have demonstrated transformational and servant leadership most for you?
    Thank you for highlighting these two leadership theories.

    • Hi Kristy,
      There a lots of them that are not as popular as John Maxwell. I know several missionaries and other faithful servants that serve inspiring hope every day. I wouldn’t start to share names. Paul Farmer, Nelson Mandela, and Desmond Tutu are others that have been models of transformational leadership to me.

  4. Jean – I love that you and Tonette chose the same two leadership models to write about in this week’s blog. Thank you for sharing why these models are important to you and how they inform your leadership style.

  5. Alana Hayes says:

    I always love learning from you with your extensive training through John Maxwell!

    How can the basic principles of transformational leadership and servant leadership be applied collectively to increase effectiveness and collaboration? Can the two models be used cohesively?

  6. Alana, the two models are my best and can be used cohesively. Jesus, our Lord, must be the Chief Architect of these two models.

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