Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fleshing out Transformational Leadership

James MacGregor Burns in his classic book Leadership, wrote about transformational leadership. Burns defined a transformational leader as someone who “recognizes and exploits an existing need or demands of a potential follower.”He further developed transformational leaders as people who “looks for potential motives in followers, seeks to satisfy higher needs, and engages the full person of the follower.”The desired results of transformational leaders are a shared relationship of motivation and elevation that changes both the leader and the follower into moral agents.

Churches today are in need of leadership with a vision of seeing greater potential in individuals and thus desiring to transform them by developing the greater good in people. Transformational leadership in church will allow people to be transformed into a person that reflects Christ and displays the power of the Holy Spirit. When a person experiences true transformation, the areas of their life that are in need of change or improvement will become evident. Transformation takes place through a personal relationship with the leader inspiring and shaping the follower into the person God desires them to become.

Church leaders must have a heart of transforming people to more reflect Christ. Henry Blackaby in his book Spiritual Leadership challenges the leader’s goal. He writes “The primary goal of spiritual leadership is not excellence, in the sense of doing things perfectly. Rather, it is taking people from where they are to where God wants them to be.” Therefore, the work of transformational leaders is to assist people in developing a vision of what God wants them to be. Transformational leaders work with people to encourage them to move from where they are towards where God would have them be on their spiritual journey.

I pray that as a person, husband, father, and pastor that I will be a transformational leader. My heart is to be the kind of leader that moves people along on their spiritual journey. I want to challenge people to reflect Christ more in their daily spiritual journey. Transforming people to be more like Christ as they lead others.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Transformational Leader - Part 1 of a bunch

I am working on my Doctorate of Ministry (DMIN) from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. I have finished all of my classwork and I am now on the final part, the project report. The project is the culmination of all the classwork for the DMIN. Here I take a topic and build a project around that topic. For me, the topic is transformational leadership, and my project is a 8 week study for a group of leaders on the equipping of transformational leadership skills.

James MacGregor Burns was really the first to write about transformational leadership in his classic book Leadership back in 1978. I have a been reading books, articles, and journal entries on the topic. There is a number of material in the business world but not a whole lot written in the church world. In fact Ed Stetzer and Thom Rainer are writing a book now called Transformational Church that is due to be out in June of 2010. You can look at that here. So, I am having to take secular world material and synthesize with the church material out there to put together my project. I am enjoying.

One of the articles that I came across today was by a guy named David Burkus. He is a professor at Oral Roberts and he wrote about the motivation of leadership based on some material by Bruce Winston who is a professor at Regent University. You can read the article here The article was challenging to me as a pastor. I can see where there are times where the motivation can change a little based on the circumstances that surround the situation. The more I study Transformational Leadership I become increasingly convinced that the motivation that should be on We.

We are on a journey together. I know organizations and churches now that have leadership where the motivation seems to be Me. The ministry, the vision, and the direction are all set, established, and decided by the Leader. The people in the church and on staff just do it, because Me is the Leader. While I see where there are times for that, what happens is when that is the perpetual leadership motivation then everyone else looses input and influence. The entire structure of the organization and the church is held up and together by the Charismatic Leader. To me that is an unhealthy leadership model to be continually present in an organization.

Most Charismatic Leaders I know don't like scrutiny because their motivation is based on themselves not on the good of the organization and the people. With Leadership comes scrutiny. Some call it accountability. A leader cannot lead effectively if they do not have people that are constantly evaluating them. If they cannot stand the scrutiny, accountability, or the evaluation, then they do not need to become a leader. As the kids say, "If you cannot stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." The leaders must be confident in their leadership skills but be sharpened by the people around them.

Leadership must have a relational basis between the leader and the follower or there will be a disconnect and the motivation will quickly become Me.