Transformational and Transactional Leadership  of Obama and Trump



To do a Comparative Study of Transformational and Transactional Leadership  of Obama and Trump.
Report must be able to compare and contrast Transformational and Transactional Leadership of the 2 leaders.
1500 words, diagrams and figures, 15-20 Refernces with Intex

Executive summary

This report sheds light on leadership style which has been considered as an essential part of leading a nation. This study has been mainly focused on exploring the leadership styles maintained by Obama and Trump. A comparative analysis has been made regarding their success. Depending on the response of the community people, difference between both of the leader has presented in this report. This report has also analysed both positive and negative aspects of transformational and transactional leadership theories in order to discuss effectiveness of leadership style of both the president of America.



The upcoming transition regarding presidency from Barack Obama to Donald Trump is able to represent significant change in field of American politics. Both of the presidents have divergent personalities, background, policy references and governing philosophies. It has been observed that due to this transition, the political context of America has influenced lives of young Americans. The future of the young politicians and young generation of the country have changed by the initiatives taken by Barack Obama and by the decisions of Donald Trump. This report has focused on importance of leadership style of both of these leaders. This report has analysed difference between transactional and transformational leadership style in relation to the context of American politics.

Explaining leadership style of Barack Obama

The process of election and presidency of Barack Obama is monumental. Depending on the activities of Barack Obama, this name will be remembered as first African American president in field of political history of America. As per the views of Levine (2017, p.1030), leadership or legacy of Obama has produced rapid changes  in area of public policy, gay rights, taxes, health care and foreign policy. However, the Republican Party is slated in order to control Senate House along with presidency. Moreover, legacy of President Obama may be dismantled by the process of incoming administration of Republican Party. Transformational promise of Obama relies on thrilling prospects regarding turning point of racial history. After the problems related to slavery as well as racial discrimination, Obama has been selected as a man of African ancestry to lead the country.

While considering activities of Barack Obama as a whole, there is an approval regarding Barack Obama throughout all racial group and ethnic groups. Depending on the responses of the community people, Obama can be considered as good president however, he has not fundamentally transformed the country in relation to the manner of LBJ and FDR (Borosage, 2016). In relation to transformational leadership, it has been analysed that Obama has addressed and shaped value and morale regarding the people. Being a transformational leader, Obama brings constituents, a moral as well as spiritual project in relation to fundamental sense. As per the views of Noordegraaf (2018, p.23), transformational presidents can change political scenario of entire country. However, they do such activities by focusing on the process to change underlying attitude as well as the comments.

Evaluating Leadership style of Donald Trump

Donald Trump has been ranked world’s third most powerful person in the year 2018. Trump has been identified with an estimated fortune of $ 3.1 billion determining him to be the 766th richest person in the world (, 2019). The predominant personality of Trump has been exploitative, ambitious and impulsive. Trump can be considered as a personality with the trait of mobilisation and with the ability to engage and direct public. In case of going deeper, it can be stated that trump’s leadership style has been non-deliberative and charismatic. As influenced by the views of Immelman (2017, p.24), the sense of high dominance and extraverted nature has been noticed in his leadership style. It has been noticed that Trump has a poor impulse control along with being aggressive, dominant and narcissist. Donald Trump has assumed the mantle of leadership as a high dominance charismatic style determining a Clintonian combination of self confidence and extraversion. Determination has been a significant trait of a leader which can be keenly observed in Trump (Merica, 2017, p.27).

Analyzing positive and negative impact of Obama leadership and Trump Leadership

On the contrary, it can be mentioned that being a transformational leader, Obama has focused on bold promises. Moreover, according to Conley (2017, p.23), the president has put more energy into the process of rescuing rather than the process of focusing the process of changing old system. In a similar view, Allen and McAleer (2018, p.1210) has stated that Obama has transformed trajectory of America. Moreover, he has put the people on fundamentally different path. Being the first African American president, Barack Obama can be considered as inescapably historic. Presidency and leadership style of Obama has faced obstructionism by the Republicans of America.

In comparison to Franklin Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, being a transformational leader it is important to changes as well as transforms direction of the country. Based on the views of Wike et al. (2017, p.30), it is essential to indict previous order towards new vision. The leaders forge what becomes forcing realignments, majority coalition as the successor can continue the fight. Barack Obama has described the office as relay race.  On the other hand, Obama’s hopes as transformational leader were deflated by victory of Donald Trump.

In relation to leadership style of Obama, it can be mentioned that theoretical aspects of transformational theory, depending on four elements of this theory can help the people to be motivated. As per the views of Levine (2017, p.1038), Obama has focused on intellectual stimulation and inspirational motivation as these can support effectiveness of leadership style by motivating the country people. On the other hand, idealised influence and inspirational motivation for the people based on transformational theory can help to identify required changes. Conley (2017, p.24) has argued that the process of following this leadership style, a leader can create vision to the future for the youth. Through focusing on motivational approaches, Obama has focused on the process to execute change in tandem along with the people. (Refer to appendix)  

Obama has racked up some achievements and he has focused on retaining the aspects of old system. However, Obama has chosen not to relitigate the past (Borosage, 2016). He believed that he has potential to transcend both partition and ideological divides. Economical financialisation, deregulation, growing inequality, globalisation have characterised status quo while Obama elected in 2008 (Greenberg, 2017). Moreover, all of these factors remain same as he has taken preparation for leaving office.

It has been analysed that Donald Trump has focused on transactional leadership which can support also the motivational approaches. Trump has pulled US and it is trying for enforcing sanctions regarding Iran. As per the views of Wike et al. (2017, p.30), Trump has supported this clear structure of transactional leadership theory with both punishment and reward. On the other hand, Trump has become able to support productivity and costs of the country which can help to make development of entire country.

Analyzing comparison between leadership style of Obama and Trump

In respect to the response of the people, it has been analysed that Obama presidency is leaving America more divided whereas, majority of African American as well as Asian American have belief that Obama would go as good president. Based on the views of Frahm et al. (2016, p.269), in comparing the legacy of Obama, it has been analysed that the country will be united during the period of Donald Trump. In case of the process of empowering others, Obama understands trait of critical leadership on the other hand, Trump is able to provide hope to the people (Wike et al. 2017, p.27)

The activities related to the leadership by both Trump and Obama can be considered as the basic aspects which can help in transformation of the political condition of America. Trump began presidency by addressing carnage. Trump has vowed in order to make America great again. According to Faircloth (2018, p.20), in order to support effective quality leadership, Obama put lines of race together. Based on these factors, he has won majority of votes in both presidential elections.

However, Trump stoked nativist fears and racial activities in order to consolidate base of while voters. On the other hand, Obama has inherited an economical fall along with loss of thousands jobs within a month. Obama has saved this situation by motivating the people by applying transformational approaches of leadership. According to Lomazoff (2017, p.280), Trump has inherited this situation and he pretends that it was his victory.

By comparing leadership of both Trump and Obama, it can be reported that under leadership of Obama, 26 billion people got benefits of healthcare despite the Republican opposition. Whereas, there was 4 million have been deprived from health insurance under the leadership of Trump (, 2019).


It has been analysed that in relation to important political skills, personality based skills of the president can be considered as effective. It can be mentioned that these political skills have potential to connect critical consequences. These aspects are able to mobilise support. On the other hand, it can be reported that Trump was elected by exploiting grievances throughout electorate of America. Apart from these, Trump has received 46% of vote and he claims major changes. Trump is able to assert that he is able to lead a movement as well inaugural address is able to display regarding practices and policies since last decades. It has been analysed that there is a difference between transformational leadership taken by Barack Obama and transactional leadership by Donald Trump. Depending on these factors and differences, this report has analysed importance of leadership style in relation to political field of America.

Reference list

Allen, D. and McAleer, M., (2018). President trump tweets supreme leader Kim Jong-Un on nuclear weapons: A comparison with climate change. Sustainability10(7), p.2310.

Borosage, R., (2016) Was Barack Obama a Transformational President? The Nation. [Online] Available At: [Accessed 25/04/2019]

Conley, R.S. ed., (2017). Presidential Leadership and National Security: The Obama Legacy and Trump Trajectory. Abingdon:  Routledge.

Conway III, L.G. and McFarland, J.D., (2019). Do right-wing and left-wing authoritarianism predict election outcomes?: Support for Obama and Trump across two United States presidential elections. Personality and Individual Differences, 138, pp.84-87.
Merica, D., (2017). Trump dramatically changes US approach to climate change. CNN Politics. March, 29, p.2017.

Enli, G., (2017). Twitter as arena for the authentic outsider: exploring the social media campaigns of Trump and Clinton in the 2016 US presidential election. European journal of communication32(1), pp.50-61.

Faircloth, S.C., (2018). Leadership in the era of the Trump presidency: implications for the education of American Indian children and youth. Journal of Educational Administration and History50(1), pp.12-22. (2019), What Are Donald Trump’s Strengths And Weaknesses As A Leader?, Available at: [accessed on: 24/04/2019]

Frahm, K.M., Jaffrès-Runser, K. and Shepelyansky, D.L., (2016). Wikipedia mining of hidden links between political leaders. The European Physical Journal B89(12), p.269.

Greenberg, D., (2017) Was Obama a Transformational President? Politicio Magazine. [Online] Available At: [Accessed 25/04/2019]

Immelman, A.,(2017). The Leadership Style of US President Donald J. Trump.

Levine, K.J., (2017). Understanding the stories of presidential candidates: a comparison between the stories of 2012 and 2016. American Behavioral Scientist61(9), pp.1024-1039.

Lomazoff, E., (2017). Why Donald Trump Is Not Andrew Jackson (and Why That Matters for American Constitutional Democracy). Md. L. Rev.77, p.280.

Noordegraaf, L., (2018). The effects of leadership style on foreign climate policy behavior for two US presidents: How did the leadership styles of Obama and Trump influence climate policy? (Bachelor’s thesis).

Wike, R., Stokes, B., Poushter, J. and Fetterolf, J., (2017). US image suffers as publics around world question Trump’s leadership. Pew Research Center26.pp. 25-36



Theory of leadership

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