In my opinion the transactional – transformational view of leadership (Burns, Bass) is useful. I would argue though that transactional leadership, the day to day process of getting things done, is what most would call management. Transformational leadership is what most would consider to be leadership. At the heart of leadership is the ability to inspire individuals or groups to go above and beyond just doing what they have to do to meet job requirements.
David Houglum of Gonzaga University had a thoughtful article, “Myth-busters: Traditional and Emergent Leadership”, earlier this year in the journal, Emergence: Complexity & Organization. In a nutshell he argued that servant-leadership as formulated by Robert Greenleaf is a better approximation to the kind of leadership today's complex organizations need. So much of organizational dynamics cannot be controlled – or predicted – by leaders. Our organizations need leaders who want to serve others, who genuinely listen, have a commitment to building community, who seek to heal and help. And do so in a manner consistent with perceptions of humility and perhaps even grace. Not exactly the model in vogue these days.
We need more thinking about the nature of inspiration. Is it part of a charismatic personality? Or can it be situational? Can you inspire others and not be aware that you are so doing? Or can inspiration come from a different place, perhaps the heart of a servant leader?