Reform Leaders


First described by Burns in 1978, reform leaders were one of the four types of transformational leaders documented. The reform leader is focused on the morals of society, and needs to work with others to achieve their moral goals.  Unlike revolutionary leaders, which attempt to change many aspects of society, reform leaders will focus on transforming just a portion of society.


While the reform leader understands the importance of changing the moral principles of society, they attempt to do this by attacking smaller issues.  These leaders break down larger societal problems and attempt to solve them, realizing that even these small changes can bring about a larger change in all of society.

In addition to reform leaders, transformational leadership styles include intellectual leaders, revolutionary 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, intellectual leaders, revolutionary leaders, charismatic leaders