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

Get an essential guide to the dynamics of transformational leadership.
Transformational Leadership: How Leaders Change Teams, Companies, and Organizations is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 36.
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Rated 4 out of 5 by from An Academic View of a Practical Discipline This course summarizes principles of leadership. Unfortunately, having completed this course, I am reminded of a truism: Leadership cannot be taught in a classroom. Leadership must be learned by doing, succeeding, and failing. Leadership is like surgery; you can learn a little by talking about it but to be effective, you’ve got to practice it. The course is a pastiche of largely independent topics including character traits of leaders, interaction between leaders and organizations, phases of transformation, power, negotiation, learning, and innovation. Dr. Roberto generally illustrates his points with examples from industry or history. While all the topics are relevant, interesting, and well-presented, I personally found little that I could readily apply. Dr. Roberto is both an academic (D.B.A.) and also a practitioner, having commercial experience. His presentation style is smooth and easy to follow. He draws on academic literature and also his personal experience. The course guide is average by The Great Courses (TGC) standards. It averages about 4 pages per lecture; the average for a TGC course seems to be about 7. The course guide is written in paragraph form as opposed to the less effective outline or bullet format and it has many useful graphics. The appendix has an extensive glossary and a bibliography. I used video streaming. However, since there are few useful graphics, it works just as well in audio-only mode as when commuting or exercising. The course was published in 2011.
Date published: 2024-06-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Extremely well organized especially with regular customers. In and out in minutes.
Date published: 2022-11-29
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
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Get an essential guide to the dynamics of transformational leadership with Transformational Leadership: How Leaders Change Teams, Companies, and Organizations. Professor Michael A. Roberto's 24 lectures examine the leadership behaviors essential to creating positive change in teams and organizations. Filled with case studies and lessons from leaders in business and politics, as well as specific skills you can put to use in your own career, this course is a must-have handbook for leaders everywhere.


Michael A. Roberto

Intellectual curiosity and the desire to learn are wonderful gifts.


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 M.B.A. with High Distinction and a D.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He brings real-world business skills to the classroom from his years of consulting at and teaching in the leadership development programs of a number of firms, including Apple, Walmart, Morgan Stanley, Coca-Cola, Federal Express, and Johnson & Johnson. Recognized for his research, writing, and teaching, Professor Roberto has earned several coveted teaching awards, including the Outstanding M.B.A. Teaching Award from Bryant University and Harvard University's Allyn A. Young Prize for Teaching in Economics. Why Great Leaders Don't Take Yes for an Answer, his book about cultivating constructive debate to help leaders make better decisions, was named one of the top 10 business books of 2005 by The Globe and Mail. His most recent book is Know What You Don't Know: How Great Leaders Prevent Problems Before They Happen.

Professor Roberto participated in The Great Courses Professor Chat series. Read the chat to learn more about business strategy, decision-making, and leadership.

By This Professor

Transformational Leadership: How Leaders Change Teams, Companies, and Organizations
The Art of Critical Decision Making
Critical Business Skills for Success
Transformational Leadership: How Leaders Change Teams, Companies, and Organizations


The Challenge

01: 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.

33 min
Portrait of a Transformation

02: 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.

31 min
Do Great Leaders Share the Same Traits?

03: 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).

28 min
How Much Does Context Matter?

04: 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.

31 min
Charismatic and Transformational Leadership

05: 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.

31 min
Resistance and Reactions to Change

06: 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.

30 min
Phases of Transformation

07: 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).

32 min
Harnessing Emotion

08: 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.

31 min
Making Change Stick

09: 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).

31 min
Extrinsic Motivation and Reward

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.

31 min
Beyond Money - Intrinsic Motivation

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.

32 min
Power - Getting It and Keeping It

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.

31 min
Key Levers of Power

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.

32 min
Influence - Tools of Persuasion

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).

33 min
Give and Take

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.

33 min
Negotiating as a Way of Life

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.

32 min
Avoiding the Zero-Sum Game

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.

31 min
Building and Leading Teams

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.

31 min
Guiding Teams as They Evolve

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.

33 min
Observation and Organizational Learning

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.

32 min
Deliberate Practice and Experiment

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.

33 min
Stimulating Creativity

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.

32 min
Leading Innovation

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.

31 min
Developing Leaders

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?

33 min