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Transactional & Transformational Leadership

Tom Bloomer

Amongst YWAM Leaders, there is a type leader in the world that is coming up that has not been studied from an academic point of view.  It is what I call the ‘experientially qualified leaders’.  We are the only major mission or the first major mission, as far as I know (perhaps along with OM), which did not require degrees for leadership.  Every other mission in history, or the last 200 years, has required degrees or professional qualification of some kind such as a ministry in order to be accepted in the mission, we have not.  

Our qualifications experientially developed.  I was challenged to study this, which meant I had to get into leadership theory.  Before that I had already done some studies in leadership theory, just enough to convince me that it was really boring and there was a lot of nonsense out there.  There is a very well respected professor from an Eastern university in the US who wrote a major article in the Atlanta monthly last year, who called leadership studies erratic and occult and he said most people are in it for the money, because the federal government, under the present administration is throwing a lot of money in leadership studies.  So I want to encourage us to be aware, there really is lot of nonsense out there in the name of leadership development.  Also some of it that is good, is totally inappropriate for YWAM and I am hoping that this is going to explain why.  

Well, I had heard about this model of transactional, transformational leadership for years, it has become very common in the development field.  It came out in the 1970’s when James McGregory Burns came along, it took the thinking of Max Weber, the great German thinker in the area of economic and political development in leadership, and came up with this model.  Burns went on from Webber.  Webber said a leadership traditionally and long ago (but still in some part of the world) was seen as being divine.  You got your leadership through divine right.  In Europe it was the divine right of Kings.  The king of Thailand is still considered by his people to have his kingship because of the gods.  And of course many animistic peoples have this same paradigm.  In Europe after we got away from the idea of divine right of kings to rule, it was hereditary leadership, you were a leader because you were part of the aristocracy.  Most armies in the world still follow this aristocracy division of leadership which is why we have an officer class and enlisted class.  It is base on aristocracy leadership.  

Weber pointed out that there was a new model of leadership that came up starting in Geneva in the 16th century.  Of course you can trace it back before that, but at that time the rising middle class based upon reformed theology.  The dignity of the individual work is worship, and all these things that are part of the reformation.  This middle class came up and had to make a place for itself in this world which was lead by the aristocrats, so what they did was they put in a system in degrees.  Training with degrees certification in order to make their place in European society and this is where we get emphasis on degrees, which is so strong even today.  

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