Spiritual Leadership at Work
Many of us must work in the everyday world. How do business leaders create a culture that does not diminish our needs and longing for spirit, for real connection, for community, and for making contributions of value?
Spirit is defined as “That which is traditionally believed to be the vital principle or animating force within living beings; ,,,,,,,, ; the real sense or significance of something.”
The definition of leadership is “To show the way by going in advance; conduct; escort, or direct a course of action or a line of thought.”
With this said, what do I believe makes a great leader? A leader that can create a workplace that is humane, that provides community, and promotes a sense of higher purpose. Why can’t leadership, spirituality, and organizational life meet at the same road and enrich ones lives at work – I believe they can! Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus say in their book Leaders that “by focusing attention on a vision, the leader operates on the emotional and spiritual resources of the organization, on its values, commitment and aspirations”.
As a business entrepreneur you will find that great leadership comes from people who have touched the deep place of community and connection within our hearts, and who can help support the rest of us. A leader is a person that has an unusual degree of power to project on other people his or her light. Spirit evokes images of an intangible and internal world, while leadership focuses on the visible and the external reality. Spirit is a matter of being and becoming, of creation and recreation, while leadership is doing, transforming and manifesting dreams.
A leader that understands the following is a leader that will succeed:
- Power with, not power over
- The competency of others is not a threat but a gift beneficial to all
- Leadership is transactional. It depends on the relationship between leaders and followers. It is a relationship based on genuine respect for and value of all people and their unique gifts, a strong sense of mutuality and community, and trust
- Trust is the core to the health and survival of any organization, and creating and maintaining this trust is the responsibility of the leader
An empowering leader will ask:
How can I use and share power in ways that empower and re-create others? How can I ensure creativity and maintain accountability? How can I sustain a culture that values the gifts of all, yet recognizes that all are not equally endowed? How can I have the authority independent of title or position? How ca we help leaders to respond sensitively and comprehensively to the tensions between self-interest and organizational and community needs and interest?
We will move further faster toward our ideal community, if we start making connections with the causes and resources that are already aligned with our personal mission. The key to success becomes connections, both within one's community and through meaningful out-read into broader communities.
Whidbey Island, Washington USA