Essay Example on Transformational Leadership: Achieving the Unimaginable

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1710 Words
Date:  2023-09-08


Transformational leadership is an approach that is focused on motivating others to make a change. According to Spector (2006), transformational leaders develop a lead by example strategy and often use empathy to involve followers. Transformational leaders are known for their focus on the greater good and always aiming at changing what previously never used to work. The world has seen various leaders that have steered their organizations to greater heights due to their charismatic personality. Oprah Winfrey is one leader who has embraced transformational leadership. Oprah Winfrey is not just a media mogul, but she has also made it big in the business world. She has steered her television network, Oprah Winfrey Network, into one of the most successful business organizations. It is their imperative to look at the challenges that Oprah Winfrey faced and how her transformational leadership approach has contributed to her success.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Summary of Oprah Winfrey’s Life and Personality Characteristics

Oprah Winfrey is one of the charismatic leaders who have grown popular due to her power to influence people. Oprah was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, in 1954 to struggling parents who moved around doing odd jobs for the family's upkeep. Her parents separated immediately after her birth. She stayed with her mother until she was 14, and then went to live at her grandfather’s place. Oprah records that she had a tough childhood coupled with challenges such as sexual abuse from close relatives (Chris, 2020). However, she overcame the challenges and worked her way through college, where she studied journalism. Oprah got her first job in a local television station, which became her stepping stone to a renowned media personality. She started a day time show, The Oprah Winfrey Show. The show is considered the most-watched television show, and it significantly contributed to Oprah's success (Chris, 2020). She partnered with Discovery Inc. and purchased the Oprah Winfrey Network. Under her leadership, the company grew into one of the best television networks in the world.

Oprah Winfrey’s Personality Characteristics

It is apparent that for Oprah to be where she is at the moment, she worked hard. She was raised by parents who did not give her lavish life but involved themselves in menial jobs to feed their family (Chris, 2020). Oprah asserts that her mother used to move from one home to another, doing house chores. Oprah took life as a challenge and focused on becoming successful through working hard to achieve her visions. Also, after landing her first job, it is through hard work that she managed to start the Oprah Winfrey Network. Another outstanding trait of Oprah Winfrey is that she embraces change. Oprah Winfrey has embraced change right from childhood to her career life (Chris, 2020). She acknowledges the advantage of changing for the better and being keen to partake in things that ensure she achieves her goals.

Oprah Winfrey Leadership Style According to Transformational Leadership

According to Siangchokyoo, Klinger & Campion (2020), transformational leadership deals with a leader's ability to challenge others to set goals and develop a passion for achieving them. As such, transformational leaders make their followers believe that by following the leader, they will achieve their goals. Transformational leaders can influence their followers in multiple ways—four components of transformational leadership outline how leaders can impact their followers. One of the components is charismatic influence, where the leader demonstrates high standards of behavior and uses statements that make followers identify with them (Spector, 2006). Oprah Winfrey is known for statements and behaviors that have made people believe that they are likely to achieve by following her stand. Through real-life stories, OWN motivates viewers to live the best lives (Chris, 2020). As such, she sparks a desire among her viewers to want to relate to what she believes.

Transformational leaders usually start with a vision and embark on how to achieve it. They formulate a view of the future in a way that will be appealing to followers. Here, such ideas may be developed by the challenges that one encountered (Spector, 2006). Oprah Winfrey overcame most of her childhood challenges, such as being sexually assaulted to be one of the most renowned media personalities in America. As a transformational leader, she successfully developed visions that inspired many to be positive-minded and dream big. When Oprah got into the OWN, she realized that most of the programs on OWN were wellness and uninspiring programs that failed to engage the audience (Chris, 2020). As a result, she brought in several changes to the programs to address the needs of the viewers. According to transformational leadership, leaders with inspirational motivation significantly impact followers and communicate positively about future goals (Covey, 2007). The author further posits that the visionary component of transformational leadership should be supported with excellent communication skills to allow the leader to precisely and appealingly communicate the vision. Oprah Winfrey's communication skills have enabled her to engage with the audience from diverse backgrounds.

Oprah Winfrey is also known to develop individual attention to her followers' needs. As opined by Bush (2018), transformational leaders develop and pay close attention to the wellbeing of their followers. Here, such leaders respect the contribution that followers can make to the team and acknowledge the importance of their organizations' diversity. For instance, after getting into OWN's leadership, she brought her longtime friend and well-known writer, Tyler Perry, because she acknowledged the impact she would have on the organization. Oprah is usually moved by the stories of the people that she hosts in the television show, and she will sometimes shed tears upon hearing the stories (Chris, 2020). Her individualized attention is also evident in her stand is over crucial topics in society. During her program, the Oprah Winfrey show she touches on issues such as lesbianism, which for a long time were out of the mainstream media. Although she states she follows the Christian faith, she believes in identifying with people of different religions, and to her, what matters most is an individual's spirituality.

Leadership Analysis

According to the path-goal theory, leaders have the role of helping their followers to achieve their goals. In her famous television show, Oprah engages in ways that motivate her followers. By hosting famous persons who have successfully achieved their goals, Oprah Winfrey tries to help her followers attain their goals by outlining the ways to be successful. Even for the employees working for her television network, it is apparent that she lets her employees know what is expected of them. The success of her television network is because her employees know how to do their jobs. According to the path-goal theory, leaders can help their followers achieve their goals by showing concern for their needs and wellbeing (Spector, 2006). Oprah Winfrey has demonstrated support for his followers by encouraging diversity and hosting guests from different backgrounds to help her view and learn about ways that can help them to achieve.

Based on the leader-member exchange theory, leaders relate differently to each follower. According to theory, followers are not homogenous, and it is therefore unlikely that a leader will treat followers in the same way (Spector, 2006). In line with the above, the theory does not adequately explain the impact that Oprah Winfrey has on her followers. Oprah Winfrey, through the television, engages with her followers in the same manner. She does not engage with her audience on a one to one basis but does things that motivate her followers to embark on ways to achieve their visions. Oprah Winfrey acknowledges the heterogeneity of her views by doing something that impacts the viewers in different ways.

Based on the evaluation of the leadership theories, it is imperative to assert that the transformational leadership approach best applies to Oprah Winfrey's leadership styles as compared to the other approaches. The influence that Oprah has over her followers is due to good leadership behaviors that she demonstrates in ways that are appealing to the followers. The other theories are more inclined towards micromanaging people to achieve objections. For instance, path-goal theory, advocate for the use of rewards and punishments to make followers accomplish the set objectives. On the contrary, transformational leadership theory is more inclined on the role of leaders and stresses the need for leaders to evaluate how their action impacts others (Bush, 2018). A transformational leader is not just concerned with inspiring others to follow them, but also to prepare others to become leaders. Oprah Winfrey has supported others to be leaders as well. Oprah Winfrey supported President Obama to ascend to power with he huge following contributing to Obama win. Through the hosts that she brings in her television show, Oprah Winfrey has inspired people to be innovative and learn the best ways to achieve their dreams.


In conclusion, Oprah Winfrey is a charismatic leader who has navigated most of the challenges to become an influential figure in the business world. As a transformational leader, she has effectively helped her followers to dream big. Oprah Winfrey has climbed the hurdles to arrive at her current state because she believes in hard work and embraces change. Transformational leadership is evident is Oprah's leadership style through her charismatic influence. Also, Oprah Winfrey inspires people to be visionary and focus on the means to achieve their goals. The impact of Oprah Winfrey on other people can also be explained through the path-goal theory that advocates for leaders to help followers achieve their goals. The success of her television network is because her employees know how to do their jobs. Based on the evaluation of the theories, transformational leadership theory best explains Oprah Winfrey's leadership approach. Oprah Winfrey has a convincing desire to help others set and achieve goals.


Bush, T. (2018). Transformational leadership. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 46(6), 883-887.

Chris, J. (2020). 8 Oprah Winfrey Leadership Style Secrets - Joseph Chris Partners. Joseph Chris Partners. Retrieved 19 June 2020, from

Covey, S. (2007). Developing tomorrow’s Transformational Leaders Today. The Transformational Leadership Report. Retrieved 19 June 2020, from

Siangchokyoo, N., Klinger, R., & Campion, E. (2020). Follower transformation as the linchpin of transformational leadership theory: A systematic review and future research agenda. The Leadership Quarterly, 31(1), 101341.

Spector, P. E. (2006). Industrial and organizational psychology: Research and practice. John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Cite this page

Essay Example on Transformational Leadership: Achieving the Unimaginable. (2023, Sep 08). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience and 25% off!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism