For decades many scientists have been trying to develop the theoretical models of different organizational structures that should maximize the efficiency of the given company. The discussion hasn`t been over yet, but nowadays people start to pay more attention to various types of leaders who are considered to be crucial for the establishment of a proper working environment. The leader is the key element of any organization, because he is responsible for the strategy and objectives of a company and the relations within it.
Although there are many approaches, defining the leadership, we are going to conduct the analysis of only one theory, called the Transformational Leadership Theory. James Burns was the creator of the initial concept of transformational leadership. According to him, this type of leadership is based upon the inspiration and motivation that unite the leader and his followers. Bernard M. Bass was the next person working over transformational leadership. Thus, the following four components of this theory were formulated: Idealized Influence (II), Inspirational Motivation (IM), Individualized Consideration (IC) and Intellectual Stimulation (IS). The first one means that a leader should act as an ideal model admired by other workers. The idea of the second component is that a leader should be able to inspire and motivate his followers. The IC means that a leader should pay special attention to the needs and problems of his followers. And the last component of transformational leadership talks about the necessity of bringing creativity and innovations to the work (Jandaghi, Matin and Farjami 359-361).
The Pike Place Fish Market is one of the best examples of practical implementation of the Transformational Leadership Theory. This local fish market gained a worldwide prominence due to its original philosophy that is called the Fish! Philosophy. John Christensen, who released a film Fish about this market gave such name to its philosophy. Later he wrote the book defining four central ideas of this market, i.e. a) choose one`s attitude, b) play at work, c) make someone`s day, and d) be present.
Now it is time for us to emphasize the examples of the four components of transformational leadership at the Pike Place Fish Market. We are going to use a fragment released by the McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. in order to help us find them. This fragment features Jim Bergquist, the owner of Bizfutures Consulting Co., and John Yokoyama, the owner of Pike Place Fish, who tell about their philosophy.
First of all, the Idealized Influence can be clearly seen at this market, because fishmongers and other employees respect their leaders, that`s why they are ready to believe in their purposes and ideas. Mr. Yokoyama states that previously his management style relied on the system of strict control and constraints, but the productivity and the overall atmosphere was quite depressive. Then he started to trust in his employees, leading to the creation of understanding between him and other workers. Of course, people`s natural response to the trust is respect, so the owner of the Pike Place Fish gained support among his employees. This allows us to assume that he is a model for admiration.
Undoubtedly, the Idealized Influence cannot be achieved without the Individualized Consideration. The Fish! Philosophy requires a person to be present, i.e. to forward all his emotions and feelings to the present situation, that in turn, helps him choose his attitude and make someone`s day. However, this is impossible when an employee has some personal problems, because he cannot pretend that everything is okay. In such a case, Mr. Yokoyama always tries to identify the problems by speaking with an employee. He believes that communication is the best way to help his people and even solve their problems. This direct support and encouragement is a good example of the Individualized Consideration.
Let`s proceed to the last two components. I think that the Pike Place Fish has the best example of the Intellectual Stimulation, because its creativity and untypical approach provided it with the world fame. For instance, this market is known for its habit of throwing fish above the counters. The sign “Caution: Low Flying Fish” indicates the area where such fun action takes place. This fun habit attracts a lot of consumers and other people. Moreover, fishmongers always communicate with buyers, as though they were friends. We should also notice that another important element of this market`s philosophy is the training provided by experienced fishmongers to young employees. This skill exchange ensures the constant creativity and innovation.
The last component that we are going to analyze is the Inspirational Motivation. Jim Bergquist mentioned the basic idea of this component, i.e. the Pike Place Fish doesn`t simply sell fish, they are doing something more. The leader`s vision there is that they want to satisfy the clients, actually make their day, and what is more important, all the employees understand this vision, that`s why they struggle to achieve it. It means that they share the common purposes with their leaders, trying to change the future. As we know, changing the future is the core principle of the Transformational Leadership Theory.
McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. “Management by Inspiration, featuring Seattle`s World Famous Pike Place Fish”. Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 29 Jul. 2013. Web. 10 Jan. 2016.
Jandaghi, Gholamreza and Hassan Zareei Matin, Ali Farjami. “Comparing Transformational Leadership in Successful and Unsuccessful Companies.” The Journal of International Social Research Volume 2/6 Winter 2009. Web. 10 Jan. 2016.