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Revolutionary Leaders


First described by Burns in 1978, revolutionary leaders were one of the four types of transformational leaders documented. The revolutionary leader has a clear vision of the future state, which may involve a change in the philosophy, beliefs, and principles of society. The leader needs the help of many followers to successfully bring about this revolution.


The revolutionary leader is dedicated to changing all of society as quickly as possible. The revolutionary leader demands commitment, courage, and sacrifice from the followers. Unlike the reform leader, who is satisfied with changing a portion of society, the revolutionary leader is focused on turning the status quo on its head.

In addition to revolutionary leaders, transformational leadership styles include reform leaders, intellectual leaders, and charismatic leaders. Transformational leaders are known to seek solutions that are both innovative and without constraints, while transactional leaders are willing to work within existing systems and negotiate with others to attain the goals of the organization.

Related Terms

transformational leaders, transactional leaders, reform leaders, intellectual leaders, charismatic leaders