Case Study: Transformational Leadership At Ultra Covers

According to the textbook, the essence of transformational leadership is to transform and develop an organization by transforming and developing individuals within it. A transformational leader is the one who brings major positive changes to the organization by motivating his employees in many ways such as empowering them, building a culture of trust and giving them a feeling of self-accomplishment and belonging. Transformational leadership is what transforms individual followers into leaders allowing the organization to have leadership aspects in all its levels.

Process of Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership happens when the leader of an organization feels the need to implement changes in hope to improve the organization’s overall performance either because it is facing a crisis, as it is the case of Ultra Covers, or just seeking growth. Ultra Covers is a company specialized in manufacturing covers for smartphones, tablets and laptops. Although the company’s final products were of high quality, it was still losing money and struggle to generate profits because of the thin margins and the rough competition that exists in the market they operate in. Desperate for a solution, the top management decided to hire Ashley, 32 years old with four years of experience as a manufacturing manager in an industrial pump division, as the division head of the unit. According to Andrew J. Dubrin, and to better understand the transformational leader’s role in the process of organizational change, there are ten different ways by which transformations occur and that should not be neglected: Raising awareness, Helping individuals look beyond self-interest, Helping people search for self-fulfillment, Helping people understand the need for change, Investing managers with a sense of urgency, Committing to greatness, Building trust, Facilitating proactive behavior, Focusing on areas that need the most change, and finally adopting a long-range perspective while observing organizational issues. A leader who can implement these transformations within an organization is definitely a transformational leader. According to Kathy Caprino from Forbes, transformational leadership is the ability to listen wholeheartedly with compassion and respect to all kind of people no matter what their beliefs or ideologies are, she continued: “And the flip side of this is also true: Those who are unable to listen with their hearts and spirits in a respectful, balanced and compassionate way to those who are different are the same individuals who are experiencing the greatest amount of trauma, conflict and pain in their work, lives and relationships”.

Ultra Covers: Case study After Ashley was hired to be the president of the division, her first move was to interact with not only employees, workers and managers, at all levels of the unit but also with the retailers of Ultra Covers which allowed her to conduct a listening tour to better understand the challenges and issues that the company is facing. As a leader, and in order to understand better the source of the problem and how to overcome it, it is very important to listen to employees in all levels of the company. It will also allow the leader to have an overall view of the company’s health and performance. After observing and analyzing the outcomes of her listening tour, Ashley then proceeded to make changes that she believed would turn Ultra Covers into a profitable company. She focused on three things: Manufacturing Cost, Sales, and Division Cost.

She gave a six-month deadline to the manufacturing group to cut their cost by 10%, and in case if they didn’t succeed, Ashley would outsource all manufacturing to China. Then she moved to meet with the sales force manager Ken to whom she set a goal of 15% increase in sales for the upcoming financial year while making it clear that no excuses will be accepted if the goal wasn’t achieved and that keeping his job depends on it. Ashley’s last initiative was addressed to managers and supervisors ordering them to do whatever it takes to cut division cost including printing on both sides of paper and not to hire or replace any more employees. Ashley seems more focused on seizing the opportunity of accepting this job to build her career as it took her only one hour to decide whether to accept the job or not. To be the president of a division is not an easy job to do as you are faced and expected to overcome all the challenges that might come ahead. It is definitely not a job that you can think of only one hour before accepting it unless if you are driven by self-interest. Ashley didn’t last long before some negative feedbacks started coming back from employees describing her efforts as to be harsh.


A successful leader is the one whose employees chose to follow and not because they were obliged to. There is no doubt that Ashley wants to change the organization to the better, but she must revise her methodology. For instance, rather than ordering her employees what to do and threatening their job if they don’t follow orders, she could have set weekly meeting with each group of the unit to try and find solutions that will suit the company and the personnel within it at the same time. By doing this, a culture of trust and sharing will be built in the organization and employees will be more motivated and creative in doing their task.

In addition, employees are more likely to develop a feeling of belonging and self-fulfillment when they are heard and have an opinion on how to accomplish their task and thus accomplish the organization’s objectives. Ashley could have also spent more time with the retailers of Ultra Covers in order to understand more why the company’s products are not selling well and have an idea about customers feedback. This could have allowed her to identify more deeply the problem and whether it is related to pricing or the design and style of the product.

11 February 2020
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