Transformational Leadership: How Leaders Change Teams, Companies, and Organizations

Course No. 5943
Professor Michael A. Roberto, D.B.A.
Bryant University
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Course No. 5943
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Course Overview

Contrary to what you may have heard, great leaders aren't born. They're made. The ability to effectively lead teams, transform entire organizations, and achieve ambitious goals comes not from an inherent set of personality traits but from the mastery of a specific set of skills essential to the success of leaders at many levels and in many fields.

Chief among the specific skills of transformational leadership are

  • establishing a compelling vision,
  • persuading and influencing others who may not agree with you,
  • motivating people who may be wary of changes in the status quo,
  • building an effective team that can manage and institutionalize change, and
  • sparking innovative thinking.

Possessing these and other leadership abilities are powerful tools; so powerful, in fact, that when used correctly they can turn winless teams into renowned champions, unmotivated departments into engines of creativity, and money losers into market leaders. What's more, these are skills that can be learned, practiced, cultivated, and applied to almost any aspect of your professional life—whether you're currently working in a leadership position, preparing to take on a more prominent role in your career, or looking to understand the secret knowledge of how great leaders do what they do.

Transformational Leadership: How Leaders Change Teams, Companies, and Organizations is your essential handbook for strategies, concepts, and insights into the dynamics of transformational leadership. Delivered by award-winning Professor Michael A. Roberto of Bryant University—a Harvard Business School–educated instructor who has spent years as a leadership consultant and teacher for Fortune 500 companies, including Apple, Target, and Federal Express—these 24 lectures are an in-depth examination of the leadership behaviors and capabilities essential to creating positive change in teams and organizations. Filled with case studies and lessons from leaders in business, politics, sports, and the military, as well as a range of specific skills and strategies you can put to use in your own career, this course is an authoritative guide to successful leadership.

Discover the Four Key Modules of Great Leadership

Unlike management, which focuses on achieving consistent and reliable results, transformational leadership focuses on producing change—sometimes very substantial or even radical change. In Transformational Leadership, Professor Roberto defines effective leadership as consisting of three fundamental processes.

  • Establishing direction: Great leaders not only cultivate attractive and profitable visions for the future of teams, companies, and organizations, they develop solid strategies for achieving goals and results.
  • Aligning people: Great leaders have the ability to bring different groups together for a shared purpose by communicating the direction, building a shared sense of understanding, getting people to believe in their vision, and persuading people to enact key strategies.
  • Motivating and inspiring others: Great leaders surmount potential roadblocks on the path to change by energizing people and satisfying their core needs, including achievement, belonging, recognition, self-esteem, and a desire for control over their lives.

After an introductory lecture on the definitions of effective, transformational leadership, you dive right into the nuts and bolts of this important professional skill. In order to make the subject well organized and easily accessible, Professor Roberto has arranged Transformational Leadership into four key modules, each of which offers a focused look at a particular aspect of leadership.

  • Models of Leadership: The study of leadership has evolved throughout the years, with several prominent schools of thought providing contrasting perspectives on how to approach and understand the subject. Here, you'll survey the major models of leadership and learn how they address critical issues such as human behavior, power and influence, long-term goals, and charisma.
  • The Change Process: Prompting change at the group or organizational level is rarely easy, but that doesn't mean it can't be mastered. This second module focuses on understanding and avoiding resistance to change, working with the rational and emotional sides of those people under your charge, and finding ways to solidify and institutionalize change into the culture of a group or organization.
  • Critical Skills and Capabilities: Becoming a stronger leader requires a mastery of several essential skills that have the power to turn good leaders into great leaders. Some of the major skills and capabilities you examine in this module include motivation, power, persuasion, negotiation, and teamwork—and for each of them, you'll get a host of tips and techniques to apply to your own leadership style.
  • Creativity, Innovation, and Learning: For leaders to have a lasting impact, they need to tap into the strengths of creative thinking, dynamic innovation, and organizational learning. This last module is devoted to these three dimensions of transformational leadership, and it's filled with a wealth of information on everything from after-action reviews and systems thinking, to group flow and open innovation, to mentoring and leadership development.

Professor Roberto closes out the course with a final stirring lecture that serves as a call to responsible leadership. It's a vibrant lecture that is as informative as it is inspiring.

Discover the Transformational Leader's Tool Kit

Central to Transformational Leadership are the skills, techniques, concepts, and strategies you can put to use in your own role as a leader or in other aspects of your professional career. While Professor Roberto roots each lecture in the ideas that form the backbone of leadership studies, he takes care to make these ideas relevant and accessible to any number of situations. The result is a veritable tool kit that anyone can use to strengthen his or her leadership style.

Here are just four of the many skills you'll learn with the help of Professor Roberto.

  • How to best frame organizational change: How you "frame" a change can matter a great deal with regard to whether it's resisted. Labeling a strategic issue as a threat, instead of an opportunity, tends to decrease the amount of involvement and participation of lower-level members in a team or organization.
  • How to cultivate allies: Cultivating allies is a way to create and accumulate resources that can be valuable for years. First, you need to recognize who these individuals are. Then, you can develop alliances by making promotions and appointments, providing resources, doing favors, sharing credit, and making others feel important.
  • How to make change stick: Abstraction is the enemy of any change effort, so to make change last, transformational leaders have to make the concept real for people. This can be done by emphasizing specifics, tapping into people's emotions, and using personal stories.
  • How to shape your negotiating environment: When negotiating with others, shape your environment by setting specific ground rules, breaking up the process to focus on "low-hanging fruit" first, and always getting others to see the value of building a long-term professional relationship.

Learn from a Professor with Real-World Experience

Educated at Harvard Business School, Professor Roberto is a masterful lecturer, one whose career in leadership studies and education has earned him a host of awards, including the Allyn A. Young Prize for Teaching in Economics from Harvard University and five Outstanding M.B.A. Teaching Awards from Bryant University. These merits, combined with his decades of real-world experience delivering these same insights about leadership in the boardrooms of some of the world's most prestigious companies and organizations, make him the perfect instructor for a Great Course on leadership.

With Transformational Leadership, you'll approach this fascinating subject from an engaging, authoritative, and inspiring perspective and finally tap into the secrets of effective leadership. This series of lectures is sure to have an invaluable impact on the future of your team or organization—as well as on your own career.

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24 lectures
 |  Average 31 minutes each
  • 1
    The Challenge
    Begin the course with a look at the need for stronger, more transformational leaders in today's world. Then, delve deeper into the ideas and principles behind situational leadership, adaptive leadership, and other approaches to this powerful responsibility and the ways they can shape and define an organization's success. x
  • 2
    Portrait of a Transformation
    Using legendary CEO Jack Welch's tenure at GE during the 1980s and 1990s as a case study, discover the true characteristics of a leader and gain a firm definition of effective leadership. Professor Roberto also debunks some myths about leadership and illustrates the important differences between a leader and a manager. x
  • 3
    Do Great Leaders Share the Same Traits?
    In the first of two lectures on leadership models, investigate three prominent perspectives of thought on leadership: the traits perspective (which focuses on individual attributes), the behavioral perspective (which deals with five key personality traits), and the power-influence perspective (which focuses on the amount and type of power a leader possesses). x
  • 4
    How Much Does Context Matter?
    Continue looking at other major theories of leadership that have emerged in recent years, each of which argues that the effectiveness of particular leadership approaches depends on contextual variables. The four you explore here are the Least Preferred Coworker model, the path-goal theory, the situational leadership theory, and the normative decision theory. x
  • 5
    Charismatic and Transformational Leadership
    What makes a leader charismatic? How does charisma define transformational and transactional leaders? Is it possible that a leader can have too much charisma? These are just a few of the many questions you'll find answers to as Professor Roberto unpacks the role of charisma in effective leadership. x
  • 6
    Resistance and Reactions to Change
    It takes a successful leader to make others embrace change. Here, grasp the typical behavioral responses to change, learn how to provide others with a sense of control during moments of change, discover how to avoid the dangers of threat rigidity, and see the importance of reframing changes as powerful opportunities. x
  • 7
    Phases of Transformation
    Now investigate the actual process of change itself. After a brief look at the "unfreeze-change-freeze" model of change, walk through a powerful eight-step model for developing change, from establishing a sense of urgency (step 1) to using multiple vehicles to communicate your vision (step 4) to institutionalizing your new approaches (step 8). x
  • 8
    Harnessing Emotion
    Direct the rider. Motivate the elephant. Shape the path. What do these three actions have to do with the change process? Find out as you look closer at experiments and case studies that demonstrate the inextricably linked roles of reason and emotion in creating and sustaining change. x
  • 9
    Making Change Stick
    In this lecture, discover the art and craft of making change last. Learn about the four key processes by which you can avoid the "flavor of the month" syndrome (chartering, learning, mobilizing, and realigning) and six principles for getting ideas to stick (simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions, and stories). x
  • 10
    Extrinsic Motivation and Reward
    Begin your focus on critical skills and capabilities of solid leadership by investigating the subject of extrinsic motivation, in which rewards and punishments (including compensation) drive behavioral change in a team or organization. Then, look closer at the limitations of external reward systems as well as guidelines for improving them. x
  • 11
    Beyond Money—Intrinsic Motivation
    Switch now to key concepts and insights in intrinsic motivation, which transformational leaders can tap into as a means of enhancing their teams' performance. Central to this lecture is an intriguing case study involving two teams working on a software project that illustrates the merits of working for intrinsic goals. x
  • 12
    Power—Getting It and Keeping It
    What are a leader's sources of power, and how is it acquired (and lost)? How is a leader's power different from his or her authority? And what are the dangers and risks of too much power? These are three central questions about power and leadership that Professor Roberto answers here. x
  • 13
    Key Levers of Power
    We've all dealt with office politics at one point or another in our careers. Discover the secrets of successfully navigating organizational politics in order to make change happen. Some of the strategies whose pros and cons you examine are framing, timing, information and analysis, structural change, and symbolic action. x
  • 14
    Influence—Tools of Persuasion
    Effective leaders should never rely solely on formal authority; they should also be able to persuade. In the first of two lectures on persuasion, focus on two "weapons of influence": authority (the necessity for people to obey authority figures and roles) and commitment (behaving in a manner consistent with prior actions). x
  • 15
    Give and Take
    Turn now to four more "weapons of influence" you can use to persuade. The success of reciprocation, social proof, the liking principle, and scarcity are rooted in, respectively, our need to repay in kind, our looking to others to determine what's appropriate, our duty to authority, and our fear of fewer opportunities. x
  • 16
    Negotiating as a Way of Life
    If you want to be a transformational leader, you have to know how to negotiate. In the first of two lectures on negotiation, investigate this indispensable skill's roots in theoretical games such as the Prisoner's Dilemma. Also, learn which negotiating strategies can produce the best results. x
  • 17
    Avoiding the Zero-Sum Game
    Discover value-claiming and value-creating behaviors that are integral to the negotiation process. Your focus here is on unpacking Roger Fisher and William Ury's influential model for dispute resolution, which calls for a focus on interests over positions, an insistence on objective criteria, and much more. x
  • 18
    Building and Leading Teams
    Professor Roberto shows you how to optimize the strength and productivity of your team. Explore the benefits (and potential limitations) of the five conditions for designing and leading a team: stability, a compelling shared direction, an enabling structure, a supporting organizational context, and expert coaching. x
  • 19
    Guiding Teams as They Evolve
    Team design is important—but good leaders also need to help teams develop and dodge conflict. Here, analyze the three key aspects of process leadership: creating a solid process for team development, dealing with "fault lines" that can potentially fragment your team, and combating groupthink. x
  • 20
    Observation and Organizational Learning
    One of the most fundamental processes of change that any leader must master: learning. Your focus in this lecture is on important strategies of intelligence gathering. Explore the problems of pitfalls such as leading questions, group dynamics, and the unconscious mind; and learn how to hone your powers of observation. x
  • 21
    Deliberate Practice and Experiment
    Continue studying the importance of organizational learning with this insightful lecture on experience and experimentation. For the former concept, learn tips and strategies for improving after-action reviews; for the latter, learn how to best evaluate and learn from exploratory and hypothesis-testing experiments—especially failed ones. x
  • 22
    Stimulating Creativity
    Another essential dimension of transformational leadership—the kind that makes you stand out from the competition—is creativity. Here, Professor Roberto dispels six myths about creativity, introduces you to the concepts of "blue ocean" opportunities and group flow, reveals the seven characteristics of effective creative collaboration, and more. x
  • 23
    Leading Innovation
    Delve into the secret benefits of open innovation and transparent research and development. Using case studies from Linux and Proctor & Gamble, discover how you as a leader can tap into the power of innovation rooted in connections that extend beyond the boundaries of your team or firm. x
  • 24
    Developing Leaders
    Great leaders don't just lead—they develop tomorrow's leaders. Why is it important for organizations to grow their own leaders? What does effective leadership development entail? How have great companies used deliberate practice—practicing toward specific performance improvement goals—to mold future leaders? How can you do the same? x

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  • 24 lectures on 4 DVDs
  • 128-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

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Course Guidebook Details:
  • 128-page printed course guidebook
  • Photos & illustrations
  • Suggested readings
  • Questions to consider

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Your professor

Michael A. Roberto

About Your Professor

Michael A. Roberto, D.B.A.
Bryant University
Dr. Michael A. Roberto teaches leadership, managerial decision making, and business strategy as the Trustee Professor of Management at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island. He joined the faculty at Bryant University after teaching at Harvard Business School for six years. Previously, Professor Roberto was a Visiting Associate Professor at New York University's Stern School of Business. Professor Roberto earned an...
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Transformational Leadership: How Leaders Change Teams, Companies, and Organizations is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 34.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent! Thought Provoking and Compelling This is course is a great investment! If you are interested in personal growth or organizational expansion, this course is for you! Amazing thought provoking material that is easy to apply! Thank you!!
Date published: 2020-06-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Comprehensive Well organized. Professor Roberto provides numerous insights and considerations for leaders to ponder as they approach different leadership situations, from the individual to the organizational level.
Date published: 2020-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Helped a lot/college level I bought this course thinking it was a personal leadership course and it turned out to be about large corporate leadership which I really needed to learn. It also taught about approach and importance of teams under you.
Date published: 2019-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Relevant content; excellent presentation skills I've listened to this audio a couple times through. I was immediately (and continuously) impressed with Professor Roberto's presentation skills. Obviously, as a professor, presentation skills are important. He doesn't disappoint. He starts most lectures with a story which grabs your attention. As someone who wants to improve my own presentation skills, I see professor Roberto as an example of "how to". Regarding the content, he obviously has a great deal of experience. The information provided is clear and relevant. As an intermediate leader without leadership education (rather, Computer Science), I found the content to be clear and helpful. Of the 5 courses I have from The Great Courses, this is my favorite.
Date published: 2019-06-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good information, but boring presentation style I have an interest in the topic of leadership and that drew me to this course. I found the information interesting, but the instructor's style nearly put me to sleep. I was able to complete the course, however, and found the content to be worthwhile.
Date published: 2019-03-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Leadership Good insight as to how change can affect personnel and steps to help nullify the negative side of it!
Date published: 2018-12-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Source of Information for Further Study This is the second course I have listened to by Michael Roberto, and I find him to be an excellent and interesting speaker. He comes across as a friendly, enthusiastic, and engaged teacher. I'm sure I would enjoy being a student under him at a university. Previously, I listened to his Art of Critical Decision Making, where he comes across the same way. I now feel I reviewed him a little too harshly for that course and would like to make up for it here. There I said that he was "an academic" rather than a leader speaking from real-world experience, which is true. But I forgot for the moment that the Teaching Company's stated purpose is to bring listeners/viewers into "the best university classrooms in the land." He is as advertised and should not be faulted for it. Professor Roberto presents story after story of leaders guiding their companies and organizations through a myriad of challenges. Roberto is clearly an excellent researcher, almost a walking bibliography. Besides the simple enjoyment of his storytelling, this is the biggest take-away for me. Where I become intrigued, he points to books and other sources I can pursue to learn more. That is one of the things I value most about a teacher, and Michael Roberto delivers. I recommend this course to anyone interested in learning more about leading organizations or teams.
Date published: 2018-05-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing informative shocking great super Very informative and will be applied to my business
Date published: 2017-12-15
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