Essential leadership competencies for U.S. Air Force wing chaplains
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This dissertation examines essential leadership competencies for U.S. Air Force wing chaplains serving at the intersection of ministry and military leadership. The research problem is framed as a leadership development issue, recognizing the need for a leadership competency model on which to base wing chaplain leadership development. Competent leadership is presented as the basis for a theology of spiritual responsibility, in which leadership is an act of stewardship accomplished for God's glory and the nation's good. Leadership development is addressed through the lens of developmentalism, noting the need for increased leadership competence as leaders ascend the organizational ladder. Ministry and military leadership development approaches are discussed, and relevant competency models are presented as a theoretical foundation. The methodological design is based on Boersma's (1988) research into pastoral management competencies and Huth's (2006) similar study of Air Force healthcare administrators. A list of 66 ministry and military leadership competencies emerges from the literature review and is evaluated by a Delphi panel. The resultant list of 72 competencies grounds a leadership competencies questionnaire administered to active duty Air Force Chaplain Corps personnel. Exploratory factor analysis of 72 leadership competencies via Promax rotation yielded a 15-factor solution. Leadership competencies and competency factors are ranked by mean, and competency factors are analyzed relative to significant demographic variables. The relationship between wing chaplain preparation, wing chaplain performance, and personal job satisfaction is also discussed. A wing chaplain leadership competency model is presented based on this analysis. The research concludes that visionary and team leadership competencies are considered essential for U.S. Air Force wing chaplains, while traditional ministry practices are not nearly as important. When possible, the clear preference is for wing chaplains to focus on leadership and administration while delegating most practical ministry tasks to others. This approach is not always possible, however, especially for most Catholic wing chaplains who also serve as the community's only Catholic priest. The data indicated that wing chaplain performance and Chaplain Corps members' job satisfaction positively correlate with wing chaplain preparation. Respondents therefore expressed great concern regarding the need to develop competent wing chaplains for this critical leadership role. Keywords: Leadership, management, competencies, leadership competencies, ministry, military, chaplain