This paper explores the transformational leadership style
demonstrated by Sri Rama in Valmiki Ramayana, which has transformed and
continues to transform millions of Indians even today. According to Burns
(1978), leadership occurs in one of the two ways: either transactional or
transformational. Transactional leadership involves an exchange of valued
things, based on current values and motivations of both leaders and followers.
Transactional leaders emphasise the clarification of tasks, work standards, and
outcomes. In contrast, Burns (1978) characterised transformational leadership
as a process that motivates followers by appealing to higher ideals and moral
values. Transformational leaders are able to define and articulate a vision for
their organisation; society, country and their leadership style can transform
their followers towards higher performance. The transformational leadership
had long been demonstrated by Sri Rama thousands of years before the
introduction and the development of transformational leadership model by
Burns (1978) and later by Bass and Avolio (1994). This paper specifically
explores and explains the transformational leadership style demonstrated by Sri
Rama, which consists of four dimensions (4 Is), namely, Inspirational
Motivation (IM), Idealised Influence (II), Intellectual Stimulation (IS) and
Individualised Consideration (IC) as developed by Bass and Avolio (1994).
This paper is based on the review of literatures on transformational
leadership and a qualitative research methodology called hermeneutics, which
is the interpretation of an ancient or a classical literature (Valmiki Ramayana).
The author hopes that these lessons in leadership by Sri Rama will guide and
inspire the leaders not only in the Indian context, but also universally.