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

Transformational Leadership

Written by: on April 20, 2024


This week’s reading was Rethinking Leadership: A Critique of Contemporary Theories by Annabel Beerel. This very thick book examines many of the theories we are familiar with and a few we are not. For the purpose of this blog, I will zoom in on the chapter about transformational leadership. This is where my own heart of leadership, in part, lies.

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership has been around since the 1970s. [1] According to the author, transformational leaders “stimulate intrinsic motivation within their followers, which results in their producing extraordinary outcomes.” [2] Furthermore, they “embrace a long-term vision and do not engage in immediate gratification and short-term, expedient behaviors.” [3]  Some identifying factors of transformational leadership are as follows:

  • The leader serves as a role model for others to follow.
  • The leader communicates an exciting future vision that inspires people to action.
  • They support their followers’ learning, growth, and development.
  • They work with individuals to make progress. [4]

An interesting note is that servant leadership goes hand-in-hand with transformational leadership. [5] It has common elements, according to Northouse, whose book, Leadership: Theory and Practice, we read previously. [6]

Benefits of Transformational Leadership

According to a leadership journal I read, there are several positive outcomes with transformational leadership.

  • People who follow transformational leaders report higher levels of well-being.
  • Transformational leadership is a driving force behind many of the positive changes in the world.
  • The leaders need to have a positive vision for the future. [7]

Examples of Transformational Leaders

Henry Ford is a good example of a transformational leader in history. He made the automobile more affordable, raised wages, cut working hours and provided health benefits for his employees. [8] However, there is an even better example that is more recent… Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. focused on the rights of blacks and the rights of all people. [9] He was known for his persuasive speeches. [10] Best of all, he inspired his followers to accomplish the goals he outlined in the 1960s. [11]

Limits of Transformational Leadership

The author of our text highlights several limits to this type of leadership model. One of the limits is that these types of leaders are generally charismatic in personality. [12] That in itself is not bad. However, they could become narcissistic in their leadership roles. [13] It is also a top-down model of leadership. [14] Too much emphasis might be placed on the leaders and not enough on the followers. [15]

My Personal Leadership

In my role with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, I strive to be a role model that others can follow every day. I long to get the young people I work with excited about their futures, to show them there’s more to life than the games and social media many are addicted to today. There’s something much bigger and better to prepare for. I want them to be excited about their futures, too. I love every student I have ever had the pleasure to work with. Day to day, you never know if what you’re doing is making an impact or not. But occasionally, a student from years past will return for a visit or send a note to let you know that you made a difference in their life. Times like that are golden – they let you know you’re on the right track.


[1] Baker, Colin, and Hannah Miller. “What Is Transformational Leadership?” Leaders. January 5, 2023. Link.

[2] Annabel C. Beerel, Rethinking Leadership: A Critique of Contemporary Theories (London New York: Routledge, 2021), p.295.

[3] Ibid, p.296.

[4] Baker, Colin, and Hannah Miller. “What Is Transformational Leadership?” Leaders. January 5, 2023. Link.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Peter Guy Northouse, Leadership: Theory and Practice, Ninth Edition (Los Angeles London New Dehli Singapore Washington DC Melbourne: SAGE, 2022).

[7] Baker, Colin, and Hannah Miller. “What Is Transformational Leadership?” Leaders. January 5, 2023. Link.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Holder, Rachael. “Transformational Leadership: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” Leadership Blog. Penn State, April 16, 2022. Link.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Annabel C. Beerel, Rethinking Leadership: A Critique of Contemporary Theories (London New York: Routledge, 2021), p.301.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

About the Author

Tonette Kellett

Missionary, teacher, Bible student, traveler ... Having lived in Kenya and Korea, I now live in Mississippi and work with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

9 responses to “Transformational Leadership”

  1. Michael O'Neill says:

    Outstanding post, Dr. Tonette. Great breakdown of a lot of material. Your transformation is significant and your role and ministry is such a needed place to push this kingdom forward in Jesus name. I pray He continues to transform and build you up in faith, and Spirit, and fun! Thank you for all allowing me to see into the life of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and your ministry. It’s been an absolute pleasure!

    • Tonette Kellett says:

      Michael, you’re the absolute best at encouraging! I’m praying for you, too, brother, and your sweet family. I can’t wait for the rollout of your incredible project! I’m all in!

      • Michael O'Neill says:

        That means so much. Thank you. I’ll keep you posted. I want the link to your videos too. I have a middle-school daughter as you know. I look forward to watching them with her.

  2. mm Shonell Dillon says:

    I pray that you are effective in reaching God’s people. I pray you blessings ask you embark on a new journey.

    • Tonette Kellett says:

      Thank you for your prayers. Praying for you also in all of your endeavors. May the Lord himself richly bless you in all that you do.

  3. Caleb Lu says:

    Tonette, thank you for sharing your leadership with me during this program. I have so enjoyed reading and hearing from you as you share your joys, struggles, and stories.

    My understanding from Beerel was that truly great leaders aren’t just competent or skilled, they show qualities like “integrity, passion, vision, courage, authenticity, self-awareness, humility, intuition, and wisdom.” Thank you for modeling what it looks like to be a great leader!

  4. mm Daron George says:

    Dr. Kellett,

    I really enjoyed your personal reflections and how they add a valuable dimension to your blog post. Your experiences working with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians illustrate the real-world application of transformational leadership principles.

  5. mm Chad McSwain says:

    Dr. Kellett – great summary of transformational leadership. How do you feel about this type of leadership? Do you find that you use this approach or are your drawn to a different style?

  6. Alana Hayes says:

    Amazing post with a great breakdown! What a great transformation!

    I appreciate how you always bring in your personal experiences to teach us something new!

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