Transformational leadership theory came "on the radar" of leadership and change management thought leaders via the work and extensive leadership research of James MacGregor Burns.
At root, transformational leadership theory defines a style of leadership that creates positive change in the followers. You can read about Growth development strategies online.
The key characteristics of this change, and the reason why it is regarded as transformational, is that the leaders' followers transcend self-interest, take care of each other's interests and act in the interests of the group as a whole.
Transformational leadership theory is all about values and meaning, a purpose that transcends short-term goals and that focuses on "higher-order" needs.
It is based on winning the trust of people – which is made possible by the unconscious assumption that they too will be changed or transformed in some way by following the leader.
This is often seen in military commanders and wartime political leaders. Leadership style is ideally suited to change management, doesn't it? However – this approach requires absolute integrity and personal behavior that is consistent and resonant with your vision and message.
OK here's the important bit – how NOT to apply transformational leadership theory to change management
– Be preoccupied with power, position, politics, and perks
– Stay focused on the short-term
– Be hard data-oriented
– Focus on tactical issues
– Work within existing structures and systems
– Concentrate on getting the job done
– Focus processes and activities that guarantee short-term profits