The Difference Between Transactional and Transformational Relationships

I’ve noticed an interesting sociological truth in my 5 ½ years pastoring the same church. The longer one pastors a church, relationships become less transactional and more transformational. What is the difference?

 

TRANSACTIONAL

A transactional relationship focuses on short-term thoughts of immediate smoothness and health. It is the idea of “I will do something for you, and you will, in turn, do something for me.”

 

It is a transaction of depositing and withdrawing. Over and over and over.

 

TRANSFORMATIONAL

A transformational relationship is one that focuses more on the big picture. As you lead people over time, you do more than merely discuss day-to-day give-and-take perspectives of life. You discuss collaborative, motivating, team-building perspectives of your relationships.

 

HOW DO THEY DIFFER?

A transactional relationship says, “You give and I’ll take. Then, I’ll give back and you’ll take back.” Meanwhile, a transformational relationship says, “Let’s go through life together to accomplish a bigger purpose together than we could alone.”

 

Transactional relationships are pragmatically-driven, but transformational relationships are philosophically-driven.

 

Transactional relationships exchange tangible rewards in a short period of time, but transformational relationships focus on higher intrinsic needs.

 

Transactional relationships are responsive, but transformational relationships are proactive.

 

Transactional relationships appeal to one’s self-interest, but transformational relationships put your joint purpose ahead of one’s self.

 

WHY DO RELATIONSHIPS BECOME MORE TRANSFORMATIONAL THE LONGER A PASTOR’S TENURE LASTS?

 

I am not positive this is the case for every pastor who has had a fairly lengthy tenure, but it is the case for me. The reason is that pastors who have been at one church for a longer period of time have had time to . . .

 

DEVELOP A CLEAR VISION

After a vision is developed, it transitions people to focusing more on the long-term . . . an important part of transformational leadership.

 

GROW IN THEIR LEADERSHIP ABILITY

As you grow older and have served at the same church for a while, you typically grow over time. This leads to a more likely transition from transactional to transformational relationships.

 

POUR INTO PEOPLE OVER YEARS INSTEAD OF MONTHS

When you pour into people over a longer period of time, it is harder and harder to sustain a “give and take” approach to a relationship, and instead focuses more on why you have a relationship at all—to fulfill a bigger purpose.

 

Do you have any additional thoughts on transactional vs. transformational relationships? Let me know in the comment section below.

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